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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s portion of an international fiber optic system that will eventually link London and Tokyo via the Arctic has been completed, meaning northern Alaska communities are a step closer to having a new broadband option.

Crews aboard a submarine installed the last segment of the Quintillion Subsea Cable System this month, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported last week.

The system will provide high-speed broadband in areas that previously lacked access and Anchorage-based Quintillion will make its service available to local telecom providers as a wholesaler. The system is on schedule to be in service this December.

“Completing the Alaska phase is a significant step for our groundbreaking project,” said George M Tronsrue III, Quintillion’s Interim CEO. “Our team overcame considerable challenges, including operating in a short, harsh and unpredictable Arctic construction season. We’re proud of our work and what it will mean to these Alaska communities.”

The 1,400-mile (2,253-kilometer) network trunk line runs from Prudhoe Bay to Nome and makes its terrestrial connection to the Lower 48 in Fairbanks. Branching lines under water connect to Barrow, or Utqiagvik, Wainwright, Point Hope and Kotzebue.

Most of the installation occurred last year with the last 40 miles (64 kilometers) of cable placed this summer. The portion of the system installed in 2016 has been tested since during winter and spring ice break, Tronsrue said.

“The installation has operated perfectly through this test period and we look forward to completing system testing activities prior to commercial launch this December,” he said. “We believe this will drive new growth and innovation, and enhance education, medicine and other essential services.”

The three-phase Quintillion Subsea Cable System is ultimately intended to connect Asia to Western Europe via the southern portion of the Northwest Passage through the Alaska and Canadian Arctic.


Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce,