The creation of the Alaska Wireless Network (AWN) is one step closer after a recent decision from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Alaska Journal reports. On 12 July the watchdog approved a request from Alaska Communications and General Communication Inc (GCI) to transfer their licences to the AWN, noting that any potential competitive issues are outweighed by the public benefit of having wireless carriers better able to provide coverage throughout the state. However, although the two telcos can combine their infrastructure, they must continue to sell separate retail products.
The Alaska Journal quotes the FCC as saying: ‘Such benefits include network efficiencies from infrastructure consolidation, expanded coverage and improved service throughout Alaska, and increased competitiveness from a timely transition to Long Term Evolution (LTE). We therefore conclude that, on balance, the assignment applications, as conditioned, would serve the public interest, and, accordingly, grant those applications’.