The Ketchikan City Council Thursday heard an update on last week’s rollout of the city-owned Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications Division’s new Verizon wireless service.
KPU kicked off the Verizon service on July 13. KPU Telecommunications Division Manager Ed Cushing called the rollout “seamless,” and credited Marketing Manager Kim Simpson and her crew.
“This will pay benefits to this community for many years, not just in terms of the revenue but in terms of the people in this community having three choices for wireless service, two of whom are national providers,” he said. “(That’s) something that isn’t available in most communities of our size, and certainly very few in Alaska.”
Cushing said he talked to a state Verizon official Thursday afternoon, and asked how he would define a successful rollout in Ketchikan. The official told him 150 new accounts in a month would count as successful.
Cushing said the Ketchikan store sold more than 100 accounts in just the first week.
“As of the end of last week, the Ketchikan store outsold all of the other Verizon Alaska stores combined,” he said. “That’s 20-some stores around the state.”
Cushing says most of those customers are switching from other carriers in the Ketchikan market – AT&T and GCI. While the accounts are Verizon plans, KPU receives revenue through fees paid by that company.
Also Thursday, the Council approved two new hires. Nicholas Kepler of Sitka will be the new Streets Division supervisor at an annual salary of about $70,000 plus benefits; and Jeremy Bynum of Portland, Ore., will be the new electrical systems manager/engineer at Ketchikan Public Utilities Electrical Division, with an annual salary of about $108,000 plus benefits.
The next regular Ketchikan City Council meeting is Aug. 4.