Alaska is located in the northwest extremity of North America, with its capital at Juneau. It is bordered by Yukon and British Columbia, Canada to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south, Russia’s maritime border, the Bering Sea, the Bering Strait, and the Chukchi Sea to the west, and the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north. The most important industries of Alaska are the oil and gas industry, Tourism, Fishing, Mining, Agriculture, and timber and wood industries. In addition to Alaska’s thriving industries, the tech scene has also been developed to boost the state’s economy. It supports private and public tech companies to produce the best products globally.
The Largest Tech Companies by Revenue
|Chenega||US $927 Million|
|GCI Communication Corp (GCI)||US $739 Million|
|MTA||US $100-500 Million|
The Largest Tech Companies by Employee Count
|Company||No of Employees|
|GCI Communication Corp (GCI)||2,200|
The Largest Publicly Traded Tech Companies
|GCI Communication Corp (GCI)||$17.8 Billion|
Which Tech Companies Were Founded in Alaska?
1. GCI Communication Corp (GCI)
GCI Communication Corp is a tech company located in Anchorage, Alaska, United States. GCI deals with cable television, internet access, wireline (networking), and cellular telephone services.
GCI serves about a third of the total population in Alaska. It provides cable television services with high-definition television systems that produce higher image resolution for viewers in Anchorage and the neighboring cities.
GCI provides internet services that enable users in Alaska to enjoy download speeds up to 250 megabits per second. It also offers wireline and wireless telephone products that provide local telephone services and Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System (D-AMPS), respectively.
The History of GCI Communication Corp: What to Know
The founders of GCI were Ron Duncan and Bob Walp. It was developed in 1979 with headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska. GCI is a subsidiary of Colorado-based company Liberty Broadband, a company associated with an American Mass media company, Liberty. At first, Liberty Media owned a 26% interest in Charter Communications, but in 2015 it fully acquired the company.
GCI focused on providing better telecommunication services to the people of Alaska through its television services from analog cable to a fully digital platform in 2008. The digital platform introduced better products such as HD and DVR digital cable boxes. In November 2020, GCI launched Yukon TV, which offers media services directly to viewers in Anchorage via the Internet. Yukon TV is an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service that requires users to subscribe before accessing its services. In December 2021, GCI had its fiber network to almost all the communities in Alaska; therefore, the area supported Yukon TV. For this reason, GCI announced that it would no longer provide cable TV services in the majority of its market, except for some rural Alaskan communities which had no access to its fiber network.
Also, 235 rural Alaskan communities benefited from free over-the-air broadcasts provided by GCI. The content produced by GCI was shared through the state-operated Alaska Rural Communications Services satellite system.
On November 9, 2012, GCI had plans to purchase KTVA, a Rewind TV-affiliated television Station in Anchorage, and KATH-LD, an NBC affiliate TV station licensed to Juneau and Douglas, Alaska. GCI acquired three major CBS affiliates in southeast Alaska, KXLJ-LD in Juneau, KTNL-TV in Stika, and KUBD in Ketchikan, on December 9, 2013. The television business was a success for GCI; however, the company announced its plan to venture into other businesses. On July 31, 2020, GCI sold KTVA to Gray Television in Atlanta, Georgia.
Other than providing television products, GCI also dominated the Internet market. In January 2015, GCI introduced the Mbps(re:D plan) that allows download speeds of up to 250 megabits per second. Around July 2015, GCI had started deploying the fiber re:D network in Anchorage, which increased the download speeds to 1 gigabit per second.
The Founding of GCI: How it Happened
GCI is among the first tech startups in Alaska founded by Ron Duncan, who partnered with Bob Walp to provide long-distance phone services in Alaska. GCI was introduced in 1979 as a telecommunication industry that provides more affordable telephones for residents in Anchorage and the neighboring communities.
Rob and Bob wanted to provide a better communication system that was available and reliable to the residents in rural areas of Alaska. First, GCI introduced DAMA satellite communication to deliver in-state long-distance calls and provide competitive facilities-based local phone service. The DAMA satellite communication provided cheaper call services than the previous $1 per minute costs.
GCI has developed to be one of the largest tech companies in Alaska while providing telecommunication services for both small and large organizations. It provides data, wireless, video, voice, and managed services to companies in Alaska. GCI also ensures the rural communities in Alaska enjoy the benefits of modern telecommunication by providing special services such as the GCI TERRA network. The TERRA (Terrestrial for Every Rural Region in Alaska) network is a multimillion GCI infrastructure project serving about 45,000 Alaskans in 84 rural communities.
Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) is an internet service provider for customers in Wasilla, Alaska. It offers faster internet speed for residential home phones and dedicated line internet, creating individuality for its network users. It also provides other telecommunication services such as call transfer, call waiting, and forwarding.
The History of MTA: What to Know
MTA was founded in 1953 by Michael Burke, a senior manager in the telecom and utility sectors. He currently serves as a consultant at MTA.
The company has 381 employees and serves about 10,000 Square-mile of Alaska, which runs from Hiland Road to Clear Air Force Station.
The Long servicing CEO, Greg Berberich, retired in 2015 after serving the MTA for 40 years. After his retirement, Burke was to serve as MTA CEO as the board of management sought another president.
Currently, MTA is a sponsor of AIDA’s Valley Performing Arts presentation, which features actors such as Elton John and Tim Rice. On April 14, 2022, MTA introduced the Identity Theft Scanner, which will alert users in case their data is exposed and give solutions on how to protect personal files.
Also, MTA has provided internet plans for homes in Alaska. Customers can choose Elite unlimited or Pro unlimited plans for their homes or organizations.
The Founding of MTA: How it Happened
MTA founder, Burke, had plans to upgrade the networking system to serve Alaskans with better communication services. Although it was challenging and expensive for tech startups on internet connectivity in rural areas of Alaska, Burke invested more in fiber deployment for future expansion.
Carolyn Hanson, MTA director of sales and marketing, said technology advances have led to many establishments and smaller cellular providers throughout the United States. This was the dream of Burke, who laid a foundation that would give a smooth transition of the existing networks to faster and more reliable internet connectivity.
In the 1990s, there was a national switch from analog to digital cellular service. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) was the standard cellular network. Later, GMS (Global System for Mobiles) was introduced, and eventually, the 3G and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) became the most advanced technologies.
On December 19, 2017, MTA provided a notice to its customers stating, “The wireless phone industry has been rapidly evolving; many of our roaming partners are also in the process of turning down their CDMA networks. This affects your service as you roam off MTA’s network and travel through other Markets.” The letter instructed all MTA’s customers to transfer their services to Verizon to continue using its software and products.
What are the Biggest Tech Companies Located in Alaska?
Chenega is an IT company that provides government and commercial contract services. The company has various products that serve the military, intelligence, and operations support services, such as systems engineering and technical assistance, intelligence and analysis, and federal information technology. Chenega has 2,000 employees and annual revenue of $927.0M.
The History of Chenega: What to know
Chenega Corporation is located in Chenega, Alaska. It developed under a family of companies directed by four strategic business units, including Environmental Healthcare and Facilities, Military Intelligence and Operations Support, Professional Services, and Security.
The Environmental Healthcare and Facilities unit provides professional staffing and support services for all the small and large businesses in Chenega. The Military Intelligence and Operation Support (MIOS) unit offers many services for US government and commercial customers, such as IT services, Mission Solutions, Technical Services, and Intelligence.
Another crucial business unit in Chenega corporate is the Professional Services. This unit provides Health Scientific Services, Professional Services, and Informational Technology. Lastly, the Security business unit provides physical and emergency management services worldwide for US government and commercial customers. It offers protective services, Emergency Management Services, and Electronic Security Services.
The Founding of Chenega: How it Happened
Chenega was established in 1974 after the residents of Chenega were entitled to Over 70,000 acres of land to compensate them for the destruction caused by a tsunami on Friday, March 27, 1964. The tsunami caused massive destruction of properties and resulted in the relocation of Chenega people to neighboring communities of Tatitlek, Cordova, and Anchorage.
In 1971, US Congress enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which granted the residents of Chenega 70,000 acres of land. The people of Chenega started their corporation and named it the Chenega Corporation. In 1977, the Chenega Corporation started a business development plan after selling a portion of its land to the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Alaska for $34 Million.
What are the Largest Private Tech Companies in Alaska?
Besides being the biggest tech company in Alaska, Chenega is also the largest private tech company in the region. It has the highest annual revenue of $927.0M. It was also ranked number five among Alaska-owned businesses in 2021, but it tops the list as the largest private tech company in Alaska. Chenega was also recognized as a 2022 top ten military-friendly company.
What are the Largest Publicly Traded Tech Companies in Alaska?
GCI Communication Corp and Alaska Communications are the two largest publicly traded tech companies. However, GCI seems to be the dominant publicly traded company as it has shown consistency in software and product provision to users in Alaska. GCI is a subsidiary of Liberty Broadband traded as Nasdaq: LBRDA, Nasdaq: LBRDK, and Nasdaq: LBRDP.
What are the Forgotten Tech Companies in Alaska?
1. Alaska Communications
Alaska Communication is a telecommunication industry with its headquarters in Anchorage. Alaska Communications is the first telecommunication company to introduce the third generation wireless network in Alaska. It has the best software developers who provide fast and efficient data networks and build underwater fiber cables for better communication. Alaska provides telecommunication platforms such as internet networking and local and long-distance phone service.
The History of Alaska Communications: What to know
Alaska Communications supports many community projects in Anchorage and the neighboring communities. Some of the common organizations supported by Alaska Communications are United Way, Junior Achievements, and the University of Alaska. It has also created a youth program under the Boys & Girls Club that awards a scholarship to children who actively participate in community services.
On May 25, 2017, Alaska Communications upgraded its services to be offered via OneWeb. It is also in a partnership with Quintillion to use its submarine fiber optic cable to ensure its internet services are accessible to the people in the northernmost communities of Alaska.
Alaska also built a Business Technology Center that provides room for community members, organizations, and small businesses to have a meeting.
The Founding of Alaska Communications: How it happened
Alaska Communications was founded in 1998 by Bill Bishop as Alaska Communication System (ACS) before it was rebranded. It was a sub of Lumen Technologies, an American telecommunications company based in Monroe, Louisiana.
In 1999, Alaska communications was dominant in the tech market and acquired Anchorage Telephone Utility from the Municipality of Anchorage. By February 3, 2014, Alaska Communications was thriving and had enough capital to purchase TekMate.
On December 4, 2014, Alaska Communications made a big sale after the GCI Communication Corp agreed to buy its wireless assets at $300 million. In July 2021, Nasdaq-listed company ATN International Inc. offered $343 million, which enabled them to acquire Alaska Communication company.
2. AT&T Alascom
Alaska Power & Telephone (AT&T) Alascom is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc. It was the first long-distance telephone company in Alaska. It had great advancements in Alaska’s telecommunication sector, including three satellites, undersea and terrestrial optical fiber cable, and many earth stations.
The History of AT&T Alascom: What to Know
At first, the AT & T company was not involved in providing either local or long-distance telecommunication services in Alaska. It started its telephone services after the purchase of Alascom in 1995.
Alascom and GCI communications, Inc. are the dominant companies that provide local and long-distance telephone services for the residents of Alaska.
The Founding of AT&T Alascom: How it happened
AT&T Alascom began in 1900 as the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System created by the US Army Signal Corps. Around the 1940s, during World War II, the US Army Completed the system; therefore, it was rebranded Alaska Communications Systems (ACS) and the White Alice Communications System.
In 1970, RCA Corporation bought the ACS company and rebranded it RCA Alascom. RCA Alascom had major improvements, such as developing a communication satellite. In 1979, Pacific Telecom, Inc., purchased RCA Alascom and renamed it Alascom, Inc.
Serving as Alascom, Inc., the company developed three communication satellites, namely the Aurora I (October 27, 1982), Aurora II (May 29, 1991), and Aurora III (2000). After years of Alascom Inc.’s achievement, it was later purchased by AT&T company in 1995. The company had a great development in providing telecommunication services in Alaska. However, it was defunct in 2016.