GCI customers can keep email accounts set to be shut down – for a fee

GCI CEO Ron Duncan speaks in 2019. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska telecommunications firm GCI has permanently halted a plan to phase out customers’ email accounts, although it will now charge account holders a monthly fee to retain them.

The update, posted in a Wednesday statement on GCI’s website, mentions that staff have “received a lot of feedback letting us know just how much our customers want to keep their gci.net email addresses.”

“We value your feedback and have decided not to take any action that would discontinue the use of GCI-hosted email accounts,” company officials said.

The decision rolls back a plan reported by the Anchorage Daily News last summer to close more than 40,000 customer email accounts. The July announcement drew a backlash from customers, some of whom had relied on GCI accounts for decades.

The company later announced that it was reconsidering the decision, imposing a temporary $4.99 monthly fee for email accounts as it studied alternatives to a shutdown. That fee will now be permanent, officials said in Wednesday’s statement.

GCI officials didn’t immediately respond Tuesday morning to a request for comment on the decision.

According to the statement, GCI email accounts closed since the shutdown announcement can’t be reopened.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

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