🇺🇸 Quintillion Receives $88.8M Grant to Invest in Broadband Infrastructure for Rural Alaska

By Misha Radkevitch - June 20, 2023

Press release from Quintillion

Quintillion, a leading telecommunications provider operating across Alaska and the Arctic region, just received an $88.8M grant through the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program – to help efforts in expanding and extending middle-mile infrastructure. These funds will also help in efforts to reduce the cost of connecting unserved or underserved regions to the internet backbone.

“This grant award is much welcome news, especially at a time when thousands of Alaskans are struggling without internet service after ice damage severed our subsea fiber cable near Oliktok Point,” said Quintillion Chief Executive Officer George Tronsrue. “During the year-long grant application process, we emphasized the need for a fiber ring around Alaska to prevent a systemwide outage, like the one triggered on Sunday. Our Nome to Homer Express route will close the network ring—boosting resilience, creating redundancies, and rerouting internet traffic when an act of nature occurs. While restoring the current network is our top priority, we are also beginning marine survey work this summer to get an early jump on the Nome to Homer Express project start. In addition to unique capabilities, this grant will provide for the upgrade and resiliency of needed national security and defense initiatives we will support.”

“We are so grateful to Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, Representative Peltola, and the delegation’s hardworking staff for all of their support in ensuring that Alaskans’ needs are prioritized in receiving broadband infrastructure grants. We also thank members of the Alaska State Legislature, who immediately understood the statewide benefits of our Nome to Homer Express project. We thank the NTIA team for their thorough and diligent review of our application. We look forward to partnering with Tribes, our current customers, and all Alaskans to provide uninterrupted, high-speed internet access,” Tronsrue said.

On Friday, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska) applauded the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announcement of an $88.8 million infrastructure grant for Quintillion to build a multi-year subsea broadband project from Nome to Homer, Alaska. Once constructed and online, the Nome to Homer project will provide redundant middle-mile backhaul capability for Alaska, creating redundancy and reliability for Alaska’s broadband network infrastructure that is unprecedented for Alaska.

“This award comes at a critical time for Alaska. I often say that Alaska sets its own terms, and this time period is a perfect example. We now have a situation where the federal government is making an investment that could have prevented the impacts of this widespread outage. The extensive internet outage, caused by significant sea ice scouring, underscores the importance of Arctic infrastructure and redundancy. Most Americans take for granted that internet outages last hours or days, not weeks or months. In Alaska, we are a state with one road to the Arctic, one broadband connection, and one port that is just beginning construction. As such, Alaskans often lack essential services that the rest of the Lower 48 take for granted, and given Alaska’s strategic location and role in national defense, we require more than just the ability to ‘get by’ when it comes to infrastructure. This grant is a big step towards recognizing Alaska’s unique needs and makes an investment in the future of the state and our national strategic capability. When crafting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I focused on including significant support for broadband infrastructure in rural communities. Alaskans deserve reliable access to the internet for their telehealth, schooling, emergency services, and so much more—and this significant grant will provide a solution to providing reliable internet connectivity to Alaskans in rural communities in the long term,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “While this grant won’t solve Northwestern Alaska’s current internet outage, it marks an important down payment on a more resilient future for Alaska and is a recognition of Alaska’s unique needs.”

“As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I often hear my colleagues pressing federal officials to prioritize upgrades to existing broadband infrastructure for their constituents. My question to my colleagues and these officials is—what about communities, many of which are in my state, with no infrastructure or connectivity to begin with?” said Sen. Sullivan. “The lack of Internet access in Alaska was a driving force behind my work on the broadband provisions of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I am heartened to see our legislation bearing fruit for tens of thousands of Alaskans on this expansive route between Nome and Homer, unlocking limitless possibilities in terms of telehealth, education, and small business opportunities. Importantly, in light of the fiber-optic cable severed by sea ice recently, this project will achieve greater resiliency to meet the challenges of Alaska’s rugged and unpredictable terrain and keep Alaskans connected.”

Quintillion, a telecommunications service provider, builds fiber-optic cables across Alaska. Last week, a fiber cable connecting Northwest Alaska to the internet was damaged, causing either total or partial internet outages for thousands of Alaskans. The $88.896,493.83 grant to Quintillion will extend the existing network and completes a ring, connecting a previously constructed network. It will also provide connectivity along newly constructed routes.

The grant is through the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, to expand and extend middle-mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting areas that are unserved or underserved to the internet backbone. The program was created and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To date, Alaska has received more than $3.9 billion in infrastructure investments thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. For more information regarding this grant, please contact Quintillion.

The Quintillion Team
Quintillion Global
+1 800-673-4394
email us here

Originally published on 19 June. 

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