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GCI launches new service called Yukon TV to replace cable television

GCI launches new programming app to replace cable TV boxes
GCI launches new programming app to replace cable TV boxes(none)
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:42 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - GCI is in the process of eliminating all top set cable boxes in favor of a downloadable app called Yukon TV.

“In the future, customers, instead of having a cable box to get all the content and programming that they love they’ll be able to download it from the app then access the app to watch their favorite shows,” GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside said. “The reason that we are doing this is because we’ve heard from our customers that our cable packages are pretty comprehensive and people are getting to the point now where they want to pick and choose their own content.”

Yukon TV is expected to give customers more flexibility with their television programming. The basic package is listed at $14.99 and additional packages like, sports, movies or children’s programming can be added.

“What we’re doing is not something new,” Handyside said. “It really is something that is happening with larger companies in the lower 48. Everyone is transitioning to this online platform.”

There is one small catch. In order to receive programming from the Yukon TV app, customers must have GCI internet.

“They are automatically going to be raising the price of cable TV by $74,” Anchorage resident Michael Swanson said.

GCI’s current cheapest internet plan is $74.99.

“I was told you will need to have Internet. Your TV won’t be counted as time off of your internet,” Swanson said.

Swanson says he has concerns for people who are on a fixed income who may not able to afford the changes. The end of cable box TV is soon coming soon. By the end of this year, GCI will stop selling new cable boxes to customers as it starts the complete transition to the app.

“People are transitioning now and we hope to transition fully away from our cable product, our traditional with the cable boxes, by the end of next year, so the end of 2021,” Handyside said.

Handyside also points to the increased benefits the move will feature.

“You don’t have to come into the store,” Handyside said. “You don’t have to pick up equipment, you don’t have to have a tech come to your home and install anything, it’s just a real simple step of downloading an app.”

Handyside said the move will also free up more capacity for wireless service and internet and will simplify the cumbersome process customers have with the current pay-per-view process.

“Alaskans in urban areas where we supply cable service who want to watch that and get that programming will have to download the app,” Handyside said. “You can take that content where ever you go as well if you are traveling.”

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