Quintillion wins $89 million federal grant to extend fiber optic cable

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Quintillion, the Alaska telecom company that suffered a fiber optics line break at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean this month, has won a major grant of $89 million from the “National Telecommunications and Information Administration Middle Mile Fund.”

Headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, Quintillion provides middle-mile services for last-mile service providers in the Northwest Arctic and North Slope regions, as well as along the Dalton Highway corridor from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks.

Quintillion is the only telecommunications operator to have built a subsea and terrestrial fiber optic cable network in the U.S. Arctic. It’s a provider of high-speed broadband networks, satellite ground station, and cloud service connectivity.

The NTIA grant will facilitate a multi-year project to lengthen the subsea broadband infrastructure connecting Nome to Homer, with the aim of bolstering Alaska’s currently tenuous broadband network infrastructure.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan hailed the grant as an essential step.

“This award comes at a critical time for Alaska,” said Murkowski.

Sen. Sullivan said, “The lack of internet access in Alaska was a driving force behind my work on the broadband provisions of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Last week, thousands of Alaskans along the north and northwest coast experienced partial or total internet outages due to a damaged fiber cable. Customers as far south as Bethel are feeling the crunch, as they have slow or no wireless phone or internet service, since the June 11 cut. Some are transitioning to Starlink satellite service or using analog where they are able.

The Quintillion project, funded through the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, will, lengthen the existing network and complete a ring of connectivity, which may reduce the last-mile cost of connecting unserved or poorly served areas to the internet.

Alaska received 8.88% of the $1 billion NTIA middle-mile funds. This is the largest federal fiber buildout award ever for Alaska, sources told Must Read Alaska.

30 COMMENTS

  1. More printed money, enriching a few to provide service to even fewer. Every grant is another assault on the dollar in your pocket. The citizen gets poorer every time the government blows billions on what is essentially a convenience private enterprise was already providing or is in the process of providing. More millions into the pockets of the Quintillion principals, more inflation for the rest of us. Idiocy on wheels.

    • Robert Rubey, Good Comment, thank you Sir.
      Do you agree that it’s time to primary Senator Sullivan? I mean didn’t he vote for the “inflation reduction act”? Provided of course that we can first rid ourselves of the RCV monstrosity?

      • Republican memory has the shelf life of an ice cube in the Sahara. 1 month ago Republicans agreed to no cuts in Social Security, last week House Republicans introduced a bill to raise SS age for full benefits to age 69

  2. There should be an automatic audit on every dollar spent on grants like this. The federales, after the ppp and covid relief funding spree, haven’t learned a thing.

  3. In yesteryear’s imaginary news, Congress approves a grant for covered wagon construction as the pace of railroad’s efficacy and dominance increases.

  4. Another huge cash outlay for a project w/ a nasty Achilles Heel.

    And subsea fiber? Welcome to 1990.

    This is a huge amount of money that’ll go to Prysmian Cable out of Italy and maybe a dude in a boat if Prysmian doesn’t use their own. Scant actual benefit to Alaskans.

  5. Dan, your part in the ANTI inflation reduction act is nothing to be proud of.
    .
    All we the people see is grift and anti alaska and anti american decisions from all of our elected officials. Local, state, federal, international.
    Get real, what did we lose to gain this? DEI? ESG?
    You elected officials, those that do not fight for USA/we the people, resign as the disgraces that you are.
    Lisa, mary, dan, obiden, constant, dunbar, elvi, meg, felix, adq, et al….

  6. Why aren’t the Native corporations, tribes paying for this? Tax payers repeatedly foot the bill for “fish, family, fraudulence”. Pelotola and Haaland’s cut of the $89 million?
    Investigation time!

    • That is a very fair question. While they are citizens of the state, and therefore should be treated equally as anyone else…

      Many of these corps are uniquely situated to help bring this tech to isolated communities.

  7. There is merit in developing our rural infrastructure.

    If we had the money to do so.

  8. The Great Rural Internet Subsidy takes a giant leap forward. I wish the rural folks no ill but fail to understand why some receive subsidies and vastly better service and others in, shall we say “non-rural” areas, are ignored or stuck with predatory prices and service offerings. My ISP has not improved my Internet service in over a decade and apparently has no honest plans for doing so. To suggest that there is meaningful competition in some “non-rural” areas is disinformation.

  9. Little fraud in the past but all clear now:

    ‘https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/content/news/Former-Alaska-fiber-CEO-charged-with-multi-million-dollar-fraud-scheme-479554313.html

    • Elizabeth Ann Pierce was convicted of defrauding investors for $270 Million to build the Quintillion system between 2015 and 2017. Neither Pierce nor Quintillion is on the federal suspension and debarrment list.

      Quintillion appears to have benefited from the fraud and wooed NOAA via the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract in 2016 and 2017. Quintillion’s involvement in Arctic broadband was tauted by Dept of Commerce in the following 2019 article: ‘https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/news/first-federal-broadband-point-of-presence-the-arctic-paves-the-way-new-research.

  10. They send them up from the lower 48 to make these bestowals personally; don’t they? Did you see him? Please describe…

  11. Billions more needed to slow the process of the ocean swallowing up the villages that were settled and built more than a hundred years ago and as nature claims more land to transform it into ocean everyone cries the indigenous are victims of climate change so we get to fork over billions more because they were transient people and set up camp close to the ocean which was their “garden”.

    What engineer decided they could drop a line on the ocean floor and not think about what the ice would do to it? Which pipe were they smokin out of that day? If they want reliability and a low cost solution Elon has had the answer at a much lower cost but that doesnt get grifters Reelected for milking the cash cow for us and showering villages with cash. Lisa Mary…Fish Family& Cash

  12. The hypocrite Sullivan voted agains the infrastructure bill and now supports the grants from the bill.

  13. Intriguing question is whether the $89M might have been a reward of sorts for engineering a cable break to conceal the installation of undersea wire-tapping devices, especially since Phase 2 of Quintillion cable deployment includes cable traffic to the Far East.
    .
    Can’t happen here?
    .
    Have a look at “The Creepy, Long-Standing Practice of Undersea Cable Tapping”.(theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/07/the-creepy-long-standing-practice-of-undersea-cable-tapping/277855/)

  14. Fairbanks News Miner reports this AM that a projected 2,600 potential users will benefit from this project – do the math… They can give me a grant for $32K – I could use it to pay for gas and food.

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