Quintillion provides update on repairs to Arctic undersea fiber optic cable


Quintillion, a provider of undersea fiber optics cable that stretch under the Arctic Ocean and all the way down the Bering Straits to the Aleutians, is gearing up to address a mid-June cable break that has disrupted communication in the region.

Quintillion’s cable broke as “a result of an ice scouring event,” at about 55 km north of Oliktok Point. Ice scouring happens when floating ice drifts into shallower areas and grinds the seabed, damaging the cable infrastructure

The outage affected communities of Nome, Kotzebue, Point Hope, Wainwright, and Utqiagvik, Bethel, and others in between, forcing them to search for satellite alternatives.

The company said last week that all necessary resources, tools, and equipment are now in place to begin repairs, and workers are waiting for the abatement of ice on the Arctic Ocean at the site of the break.

The initial stage of mobilizing repair vessels has been completed, setting the stage for the subsequent phase of repairs. However, due to logistical challenges associated with the icy conditions, future updates may contain fewer details as a result of transit and waiting time for ice abatement, the company said.

To maintain transparency and keep stakeholders informed, Quintillion has provided regular updates on the progress of repair operations.

While no change in the estimated time for repair has been reported, Quintillion is exploring options to expedite the work, evaluating various approaches based on risk profile, probability of success, and safety considerations. Additionally, Quintillion is monitoring ice-free estimates and forecasts.


  1. I am skeptical about the report that “ice scouring” was the cause of the cable damage. As one who once worked on AT&T Cable Ships (TOCSC), I can tell you from experience that undersea cables anywhere near land are heavily armored. Typically, the signal carrying cable is about an inch in diameter, but with the addition of armor the cable diameter grows to about three inches. The armor consists of multiple spiral wrapped stainless steel cables, each layer wrapped in opposing directions. It is called armored for a reason. The report says the incident happened 55 miles from shore. I cannot imagine sea ice reaching down to the seabed that far from shore. There is more to this story than we have been told.

    • Sounds like you work for a company that does the right thing. I wouldn’t have an impression of quintillion doing the right thing, based on their history.

      • Yeah, the former CEO went to jail for defrauding investors to the tune $270,000,000. I’m not sure how much they took taxpayers for, but I’m sure it was more than that.

        • The Quintillion build was funded with private equity (the defrauded party), not public funds. The CEO went to jail and the company has been run by an entirely different team for years. The same private equity firm brought the system online, operated it for several years, sold it this year to another private firm, presumably at a profit. All’s well that ends well, I say. Doesn’t justify her actions but the North is better off having that infrastructure available, guaranteed. Prior to Starlink, our only option in most places was 500ms latency to HEO satellite at GCI pricing. Quintillion needs to fix it and continue construction South for redundant backbone connections.

          • So the $89 billion grant Quintillion got this year makes the Federal government a private equity company now? And presuming a company that has net negative incomes would automatically be sold at a profit is laughable.

          • Quintillion’s business model was built and is funded by taxpayer subsidies, there simply aren’t enough users at $100 per month to justify the expense. Unless of course you account for all of the government money laying about that they are able to get ahold of. A simple search turns up 10’s if not 100’s of millions in subsidies that Quintillion has received in the past few years.

      • There are only so many places you can get subsea fiber stock – it’s not as if Quintillion made it in a garage. The Quintillion fiber, like many that span the ocean, is made by Alcatel in France. It’s armored the same as cable that would be at great depth in the Pacific simply because you don’t build custom cable at this scale – meaning it’s dramatically overbuilt for the shallow depths up North. Here’s the NOAA chart illustrating how shallow the water is up there.

        Also remember that just because the break is at 55 miles off shore doesn’t mean that’s where the scouring took place: the scouring could drag the cable at a point much nearer to shore before it goes underground with the tension causing a break at the T further offshore, likely at some connection point to an amp. I don’t know this or have any insider info but am also somewhat familiar with this world, generally. What are your alternatives? Most subsea fiber damage is from anchors and fishing activity. Ice scouring has always been a risk in the shallow waters off the slope. Other than that, espionage? Russians?

        • Your chart indicates that 55 miles offshore the the ocean depth varies 20-50 fathoms. My experience with laying undersea cables is that the deepest water is always selected. I can guarantee that an underwater survey was done before the cable was laid. And even at the shallowest point (20 fathoms) the water is 120 feet deep. Sea ice does need reach down 120 feet anywhere! As I said, I am highly skeptical of the assertion that ice scouring caused the damage. Likely other forces at play.

  2. I was lead to believe that the Arctic would be ice free in the summer time, seems like it was predicted by manbearpig to have been ice free in the summer time by 2013 or 2016 or 20something…really depends on what year he predicted it.

  3. There’s billions to be made for a service that is not necessary for the survival of the people. The best thing that could happen is to protect this population from the internet.

  4. Paul Pelosi is heavily invested in Quintillion.
    He was also heavy in big pharma who sold the vaccines and now Ratheon who is supplying the Ukrainian toilet flush.

    No wonder investors follow his lead. He must be a psychic reader.

  5. And the broken cable is about as mysterious as the broken Nordstream pipeline.
    Lets ask Kurly at the white house.
    She always has the right answers.

  6. Biden’s people will give Quintillion another 90 million to fix outdated technology. While Elon Musk’s Starlink can immediately solve connectivity issues for cheap.

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