Starting next month customers of Alaska's largest telecommunications company will finally start getting one bill for their services. Until now, GCI customers have received two bills if they happened to have more than one of the company's services, such as mobile voice and data, landline phone, internet and cable TV.
Heather Handyside is the senior director of corporate communications with GCI.
"The new billing system allows us to be a little bit clearer when we send you a bill. We’ll have a new format that’s more user-friendly so people can understand charges better," she said. "And then it will also enable us to have a new usage viewer platform so customers who monitor their usage how much data they have left in the month, can check it more easily and really drill down into the different levels of data they used on separate days."
Handyside explained that GCI is requiring customer action to complete combining their various bills.
"We are not going to take our customer data, billing and payment data with us. We prefer our customers enter that data again on line for security purposes," she said. "If you have automatic payments through e-bill they’ll just need to go in and enter their information on the new system."
The question arises why Alaska's "homegrown" technology giant has taken so very long to finally offer a unified bill.
"Alaska's a big state and we've grown really fast. As fast as we could to keep up with demand. So we serve over 240 communities across the state. You know, we’ve been so busy on building up our network that sometimes the back-office functions don’t get upgraded or updated as fast as they should," Handyside said. "But really, we’ve heard from our but really, we’ve heard over and over again from our customers that they really want one bill, so we tried to be responsive. And actually this process has been three years in the making. It’s massive."
The new GCI billing system will launch on August 4th, and there will be a three-day period when on-line bill paying will be unavailable from August 1st through 3rd. Help switching over can be had over the phone or in-person at any GCI store.