Nevertheless, there are initiatives going on to realize an optic cable between the two regions, connecting the west of Alaska on the fly. Then rural Alaska can benefit from ultrafast broadband network. The ‘Arctic fiber’ project promises to bring gigabit internet to the most remote parts of western Alaska. Speeds of 100 gigabits per second are expected; current consumer broadband in Nome and Barrow reach speeds up to 6 megabits per second, equal to .006 gigabits per second.
The connection first was foreseen to be deployed in 2014. The circumstances for laying a cable on the bottom of icy waters are challenging. Now the backers of the project communicated that the start of service delivery of the service is delayed into 2016, after delays for 2014 and 2015.
But why on earth is any investor willing to put many billion dollars at stake to connect a few Inuit villages, polar bears and Caribous? The answer is to find in the oil and natural gas exploration boom that may develop in due time. And when eventually the oil price will rise to a level that justify further investments in exploration.
A lot of business activity will be attracted to the region. When you look around across the rims of the artic, North-West Alaska is then best positioned to become the business center for the whole arctic region. It is as in the times of the building of the big railroads in the US. The place with the best infrastructure will win the race towards prosperity. Go West, young man!
Both the subsea Arctic cable, and a terrestrial cable along the Dalton Highway, are seeing delays that could push the rollout of Quintillion’s ultrafast broadband network in rural Alaska to 2016 or beyond. Image: Quintillion Networks.
Canadian telecommunications company Arctic Fibre will be running the undersea cable, while Anchorage-based Quintillion Networks is the middle mile provider creating several spur lines that would shoot off the main fiber backbone and connect the ultrafast cable to telecom companies in Nome, Kotzebue, and other communities along the Bering Strait coast and the North Slope.
A detailed view of landing sites and spurs in northwest Alaska planned for the Arctic Fibre project. Image: Quintillion Networks.