Anchorage-based telecommunications company Quintillion has appointed an interim CEO following the resignation of its former CEO, Elizabeth Pierce, last week. She cited personal reasons.
George M. Tronsrue III assumes leadership as the company works to complete Phase I of its subsea fiber-optic cable system, which will provide broadband service to Nome, Utqiaġvik, and three other communities in northwestern Alaska.
Tronsrue comes to Quintillion after seven years as president of MFSI Government Group, which provides national security support to the U.S. government and military. He has decades of sales and operational experience in wireless, fiber-optic, and telecommunications infrastructure in the U.S.
Kristina Woolston, vice president of external relations, says that includes building out systems in both small and large communities:
“It’ll be a neat opportunity for Quntillion to work with someone who has transitioned from a construction phase to, really, an operational phase. We hope to bring George out in the pretty near future to visit with folks in Nome and the other communities to get to know folks at the schools, the mayor, of course, and other businesses locally that Quintillion would, of course, love to support on our system.”
Woolston expects Quintillion will complete Phase I by this December, that “the project is on track. In fact, we’ve already commenced, and started our summer marine program.”
Underground cable has already been installed between Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Prudhoe Bay, connecting Alaska to the Lower 48. And subsea trunk and branch cables have been laid between Nome and a branching unit off the coast of Oliktok Point. Now all that’s left is to connect the two.
Woolston says the segment in shallower water off Oliktok Point is already being worked on, and that the cable-laying vessel CS Ile de Batz will begin its work in the deeper segment after the ice has broken up sufficiently.
“That’s the critical connection to lighting up the system into Nome and other communities,” she said. “We’re on schedule to be doing that and turning up service into the communities December 1 of this year.”
Once the cable is connected, service providers will be able to purchase capacity to transmit data to residents. Woolston could not give further information about potential providers, but said she expects customers will begin to see service by the end of the year.
Image at top: a Quintillion vessel, viewed from Nome’s Front Street. Photo: Lauren Frost/KNOM.