- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Customers with Alaska telecommunications company General Communication, Inc. say they have experienced frequent outages all winter.

Cellular service was spotty over the winter months around the Kuskokwim communities, customers say, even as some communities were upgraded from 2G to 3G, KYUK-AM reported (https://bit.ly/1P5EqQu ).

“The cell service just going out for a while and then throughout the day, my messages aren’t being sent and my phone call are getting cut off,” said Shantell Kinegak, of Bethel.

For areas that were upgraded, cell service has also been problematic.

“Ever since 3G services went up in Tunt the service hasn’t been good, the cell signal drops in and out constantly,” said Charlie Andrew, whose village of Tuntutuliak near the mouth of the Kuskokwim was upgraded recently.



GCI Spokesman David Morris said some of the outages can be attributed to high traffic on the network as people flock to social media and emails on the new 3G service.

“When you get that type of congestion taking place you are going to have problems in particular with your data applications,” Morris said.

An influx of spam emails and messages slowed the network temporarily, Morris said, but that issue has been resolved.

Outages could also be caused by bad weather, or solar activity, Morris said. But most people in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region are connected through the ground network known as TERRA and shouldn’t be affected. .

GCI recently increased its network’s bandwidth, and data services should improve after the ground network expansion is completed by 2017, Morris said.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org

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