Quintillion’s subsea fiber optic cable system has been completely installed in Alaska.
Kristina Woolston, VP of External Relations, says construction has been going on for three years in order to reach this point in the three-phase project:
“The system is complete for the Alaska portion, and the system is turned on and running. We are excited to deliver commercial service on a wholesale basis to Nome, Kotzebue, Point Hope, Wainwright, and Utqiagvik in December of this year.”
Earlier this summer, the vessel Ile De Batz finished laying 40 more feet of cable near Oliktok Point to round out the 1,400-mile network. The French vessel was recently in Nome’s waters but has left for now. Woolston says it could be seen again offshore as it heads west towards Asia for Phase 2 of the project.
Even though Phase 1 is finished and the cable system has partially been in test mode since last year, Woolston explains there is still some housekeeping business that needs to be completed before Quintillion’s large bandwidth network can be accessed in Nome:
“What’s going on right now is we have to do training on the system for both our operators and those that will monitor and maintain the system. We also have to go through what’s called a formal commissioning process. Quintillion contracted a turnkey installer, Alcatel Submarine Networks, to install the cable system. So we have to go through the formal process now of Alcatel commissioning the system to Quintillion.”
By the time service is made commercially available in December, Quintillion will have contracts to sell wholesale data capacity to multiple telecommunications providers in Nome, Woolston says:
“So we have contracts underway right now; we have providers on the system. We are actively engaging in additional contract negotiations for additional providers, and the community can expect to see more than one provider in Nome and in the other communities on the system as well.”
Although a specific launch date to access Quintillion’s system in Nome has not yet been determined, KNOM will announce the official turn-on service day once that information becomes available.
Image at top: A cable-laying vessel with Quintillion, viewed from Nome’s Front Street. Photo: Lauren Frost/KNOM.