work. This is mutually beneficial for the work-
Quintillion Deploys the
ers and GCI. Nelson explains: “It’s provided
an opportunity for people living in their rural
community to stay there. And it works for us
because they are close to the infrastructure
and can respond quickly.”
In fact, GCI is trying to “grow its own”
workers in the region by maintaining an active
workforce development program. It also works
with universities and school districts to nur-
ture local workers. “If we can get them close to
their community, there is less turnover,” Walsh
says. “GCI’s best success is by having employ-
ees who either come from the region they’re
working in or at least understand the region.”
Headquartered in Anchorage, Quintillion is
bringing lower-cost, high-speed broadband
service options to rural Alaska. Together
with its partners, Quintillion is changing
Alaska’s middle-mile capabilities with the
construction of new fiber optic cable systems
that went live in December 2017.
Quintillion maintains expansive technology infrastructure in the Arctic. Its new
400-mile terrestrial fiber optic infrastructure
goes from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, connecting to the in-field fiber network owned in a
joint venture with Alaska Communications,
from Deadhorse to Oliktok Point (
ninety-plus miles). It has been in service for about a
year. At Oliktok Point, the terrestrial systems
link with Quintillion’s 1,200 mile subsea
fiber system, the first-ever submarine cable
system in the North American Arctic. As a
whole, the system serves 20,000 residents and
businesses in those communities.
“Quintillion is deploying the very latest
technology capable of meeting total aggre-
gate demand on our system up to 30 tera-
bits,” says Quintillion CEO George Tronsrue
III. “We have the ability to triple that capacity
over time as demand grows.”
The company’s subsea system was built and
installed by Alcatel Submarine Networks, a
global leader in the submarine cable industry.
It utilizes state-of-the-art lightwave technol-
ogy from Lucent Technologies and the lat-
est and most advanced Ethernet technology
provided by telecommunications networking
equipment, software, and services provider
Ciena Corporation. Quintillion also has tele-
communication points of presence (POPs) in
Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Deadhorse serv-
ing greater Alaska markets and cable landing
station POPs in each of the five markets. Two
of the POPs are co-located with the local ex-
change carrier in Kotzebue and Nome.
Building the subsea system over the last
three years was a challenging and unique undertaking, according to Tronsrue. An obvious major challenge was severe winter conditions that inhibited what could be done in the
Arctic Ocean and over land.
Tronsrue points out that before Quintillion’s network switched on in December 2017,
the existing technology in the affected markets was satellite and microwave, which have
limited bandwidth, are expensive to maintain
and operate, and are not diversified systems.
Corporate Catalysts | $50,000+
ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.
Corporate Leaders | $25,000+
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air
Corporate Partners | $10,000+
The Chariot Group
Corporate Members | $1,000+
49th State Brewing Co.
Alaska Wildland Adventures Inc.
Bristol Bay Native Corp.
Chugach Alaska Corp.
Denali National Park Wilderness Centers Ltd.
Icy Strait Point
Pacific Star Energy
Price Gregory International Inc.
To join us visit nature.org/alaska 715 L Street, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Photo: © Lance Nesbitt
© Ami Vitale
Corporate Council on the Environment
We thank these companies for sharing our
vision of a healthy environment and a vibrant
economy for many generations to come.
Nature is Alaska’s business