Valdez, Alaska is getting cable modem service and joining its already connected cosmopolitan cousins, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, in speedy 'Net surfing.

GCI, Alaska's largest ISP, is delivering the service, which has the added feature of secure, digitally encrypted transmission. GCI says the service will appeal to the usual audience of telecommuters, i-gaming aficionados and, CED suspects, those who are snowed in.

"With the initiation of cable modem service, Valdez can realize the true potential of being a wired community," said Tom Zulz, GCI Valdez area manager, in a statement. "This will allow us to overcome the limitations of slower dial-up service and foster new opportunities for commerce, education and residential use."

Valdez will be connected to the lower 48 states via GCI's fiber optic network.

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