Another Break in the Quintillion Fiber Optic Line Leaves North Slope Communities with Weak Internet

Quintillion's submarine cable damage disrupts internet across Alaska's North Slope, impacting local services and communications.By Suzanne Downing, Must Read Alaska
April 23, 2024

Internet is down in portions of the North Slope after the fiber optic cable owned by Quintillion had some type of break.

Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative has said the communities impacted are Atqasuk, Point Hope, Utqiagvik, and Wainwright.

“Currently these communities are experiencing an all services Quintillion network outage. Quintillion’s teams have been deployed to investigate a possible fiber cut. A restoral to all services is underway. We will share updates as they become available. Credits will be applied following the restoral, for all customers affected in all communities,” ASTAC said on its Facebook page.

GCI said, “Our connectivity partner, Quintillion Networks, is experiencing a network outage that is impacting some of our services in Nome, Kotzebue, Utqiagvik and Wainwright. Slower internet service will be experienced. Voice and text are not impacted at this time. Quintillion teams are working to restore service as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience.”

Maniilaq Association said the 911 line is down in Kotzebue for ATT phones due to the break. The land line is still working.

Each community provider has its own communities and own networks. Each community is impacted to a different degree. For instance, ASTAC has some satellite backup in place for its communities but there is no statewide backup network to make these situations avoidable.

Less than a year ago, there was a break in the Quintillion fiber optic cable on the ocean floor, leaving communities without internet for several weeks. This break is not thought to be a subsea problem.

The problem with fiber optic breaks in the Arctic include remote areas, weather, challenging ice conditions. The federal government has been making awards for fiber optic, with satellite companies receiving no such subsidies for providing satellite service to these communities as a redundant system to ensure reliability and uninterrupted service.

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