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Alaska Communications rolls out fibre for subsea monitoring

Subsea cable seabed 16.9.jpg

Alaska Communications in collaboration with Oregon State University’s College of Engineering to transmit wave activity data from the ocean floor via its subsea fibre optic cable.

“The Alaska Communications cable is in an ideal location for our team to monitor the interaction between waves and currents coming out of the Siuslaw River along the Pacific coastline,” said Wengrove.

“This project will support continued learning about wave interaction which could potentially improve or provide warnings for coastal communities in the event of dangerous wave activity, like sneaker waves.”

Sneaker waves, also known as sleeper waves, can appear suddenly without warning and according to Wengrove, they are not well predicted.

The project saw Dr Meagan Wengrove, assistant professor of coastal engineering, Oregon State and her Ph.D. student and two post-doctoral researchers, travel to Alaska Communications’ cable landing station in Florence, Oregon in to attach a distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) interrogator to the company’s fibre.

The DAS interrogator measures strain applied to the cable and reports data back to the research team. At the same time the team has radar on the surface of the ocean and two moorings on the ocean floor contributing to the research.

“We’re pleased to aid Oregon State’s research by providing space on one of our subsea cables,” said Diedre Williams, senior vice president of operations, Alaska Communications.

“With two subsea cables connecting Alaska to the Lower 48, we have substantial infrastructure that can potentially help and improve our communities through this type of research.”

The news marks the first subsea cable the Oregon State team has used to support its wave study. Wengrove was introduced to Alaska Communications through Ƶack Spica, assistant professor at the University of Michigan who used the company’s cable to monitor seismic activity last year.

In related news, last month Alaska Communications confirmed it will be implementing cybersecurity services as part of its wider offering.