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Vol. 15, No. 32 Week of August 08, 2010
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

AK-WA Connection 2010: ACS races to keep up with wireless demand

The providerís high-speed mobile data communications network now covers more than 65 percent of Alaskaís populated areas

Rose Ragsdale

Alaska-Washington Connection

Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. expanded its third generation (3G) mobile broadband network to Kodiak in May, and introduced the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot to its Alaska customers in April as part of an aggressive multimillion-dollar network investment targeting the growing demand for mobile data services.

ACS also unveiled plans in May to expand and deepen its 3G coverage by more than 50 percent in 2010. From 2008 to 2009, the communications provider invested more than $20 million in its Alaska wireless network.

ACS began offering Alaska high-speed mobile data communications through its 3G CDMA EVDO network in 2004, and now operates the largest 3G network in Alaska, which covers more than 65 percent of Alaskans from the Southeast to the North Slope.

The MiFi Mobile Hotspot lets customers create a personal Wi-Fi cloud that is easily shared among up to five users and a variety of Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as laptops, cameras, gaming devices and multimedia players.

Businesses and nonprofits can use the device to hold group meetings in locations without an Internet connection, while up to five vendors at a trade show with kiosks in close proximity can separately access one MiFi deviceís signal and each run live demos of their company websites and share product tutorials.

Weighing only 2.05 ounces, the MiFi is small enough to fit in a pocket, and its rechargeable battery runs up to four hours in active mode and 40 hours on standby on a single charge.

ACS Vice President, Engineering Mike Todd said demand for wireless data is growing in Alaska, whether itís for sharing video and photos, checking the latest weather conditions, downloading a business presentation or listening to music, all on the go.



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