GCI to publish competing Anchorage phone book

Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Phone companies General Communications Inc. and Alaska Communications Systems have been battling over phone service in the Anchorage area and soon they'll be competing over phone directories.

GCI Inc. plans to publish its own Anchorage-area phone book, which would compete primarily against the one produced by ACS. The GCI book is expected to be ready by next winter.

Executives of GCI said their book will bring more competition to the local telephone directory market in the form of lower yellow pages advertising rates. Businesses that are GCI telephone service customers will receive discounts, they said.

GCI has captured 40 percent of ACS's local telephone customers in Anchorage since GCI began offering local phone service in 1997.

During the nine months that ended Sept. 30, ACS reported $25.4 million in revenue from its directory business. ACS executives on Monday said they are not worried about the GCI phone book nipping away at that part of their business.

''People like the idea of a competing book because prices tend to be lower when you have a competing book,'' said ACS president Wes Carson. ''But it's a rare thing for advertisers to say 'I'm just going to advertise in the other book,' because all of their competitors are advertising in the ACS Yellow Pages,'' Carson said.

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