Anchorage-Based GCI To Sell Tower Division

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The Anchorage, Alaska-based multi-dimensional communications company intends to sell its tower division this year and gain up to $90 million, the company said Wednesday. “During 2016, we expect to monetize our urban wireless towers and rooftop locations for approximately $90 million in a sale leaseback transaction. We will redeploy and invest the cash received into our broadband infrastructure in Alaska.” The news was noted in the General Communications fourth quarter and full year 2015 results press release issued Wednesday from Anchorage.

“We also anticipate selling our urban wireless towers in 2016, which will provide us additional capital that we intend to re-invest in the growth of our company,” said Ron Duncan, GCI’s president and chief executive officer. “This sale will support significant investments in a diverse fiber to the North Slope and continued expansion of our TERRA network. These steps demonstrate GCI’s commitment to being the leader in broadband infrastructure in Alaska.”

As Inside Towers reported last fall, GCI, Alaska’s largest telecom which provides phone, television and Internet service to large sections of the state including many rural areas, was slammed October 20 with a $620,500 FCC fine for failing to register 118 cell towers — several of which were not properly lit to prevent accidents in the air. The FCC reached a settlement and the fine was paid at the time of the October announcement.

At the time, the company said the oversight to properly register the towers was discovered after reviewing its property following the 2013 merger between GCI and Alaska Communications System into the Alaska wireless network. Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, said, “Unregistered and unlit towers pose unacceptable risks to air and public safety. It is essential that communications towers are properly registered prior to construction, as well as properly lighted, to ensure that air traffic is aware of tower locations.”

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