Alaska Communications, Quintillion to bring broadband to rural Northwest Alaska communities

Alaska Communications and submarine cable provider Quintillion are going to extend fiber-based services to rural communities in Northwest Alaska, an area where service options were limited to high-cost microwave and satellite communications from one provider.

Leveraging Quintillion’s new submarine cable, Alaska Communications will bring new services to Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow), Nome, Kotzebue, Point Hope and Wainwright, some of Alaska’s northernmost communities.

The two companies' plan is to bring fiber-based access on what they say is a “substantially more affordable basis” to these communities.

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Upon activating the network later this year, Alaska Communications will be a reseller to select telecom providers in addition to serving business customers with its expanded network.

As part of the agreement, Quintillion will purchase capacity services for its newly constructed terrestrial system to the oil fields of the North Slope on Alaska Communications’ fiber optic network from Fairbanks to the Lower 48.

“The Arctic is a developing frontier and currently lacks essential infrastructure such as broadband,” said Elizabeth Pierce, Quintillion CEO. “The cost of service is very high. The quality of service is very poor and economic development, health care and education are being impeded.

Alaska Communications and Quintillion are hardly strangers. The two providers established a partnership in April 2015 to purchase a fiber network from ConocoPhillips in the portion of Alaska’s North Slope oil patch where most new oil and gas development is taking place.

The new deal will allow Alaska Communications to connect the original fiber to its existing network via Quintillion’s new terrestrial network, providing redundancy and expanding broadband and managed IT services offerings to more of Alaska’s oil and gas companies on the North Slope. 

Alaska Communications will work with local exchange carriers in each community that can bring broadband to homes and businesses.