Snowhorn’s QLoop digs into the mud and under the river

Snowhorn’s QLoop digs into the mud and under the river

QLoop construction pic.jpg

Fans of giant construction projects have been entranced by the pictures Quantum Loophole CEO Josh Snowhorn has been posting of his network build.

The company has been digging a tunnel under the Potomac river from its new campus in Frederick, Maryland, to the Ashburn internet ecosystem.

Eventually “over 235,000 strands of fiber can be put in the system using 6,912 fiber cables”, Snowhorn wrote on his LinkedIn feed.

Giant construction equipment are digging ducts through muddy winter fields (pictured) and under the river to make the connection.

“This system is buried deeply to support the strictest security requirements while also achieving the shortest latency path possible of under 1ms RTT [round-trip time].”

As Snowhorn told Capacity two years ago when he started the project, the aim is to build “highly sustainable, environmentally-sound data centre developments at scale”. Quantum Loophole identified a 2,000 acre (800 hectare) site that was already zoned as industrial land. It was, in fact, a former Alcoa aluminium factory.

“We’re not trying to do a crazy assemblage of agricultural land and then trying to take that away from farmers in the community,” said Snowhorn back in 2021.

Now the construction is underway, but Frederick needs connecting – under the river – to the hub of the world’s internet services in northern Virginia.

The “QLoop terrestrial build is underway”, said Snowhorn this week, with 34 ducts each 2 inches (50mm) in diameter linking Frederick to Ashburn.

The fibre will be carried through 3,900 feet (1,200m) of plastic sleeving.

“Months of work and toil to get to this point,” said Snowhorn. “Months of work, millions of dollars, broken machines, broken bore heads, broken back reamers and endless hours of labour and strife to get this done.”

In May last year, during our International Telecoms Week conference, Aligned Data Centers said it will acquire land, power and water at Quantum Loophole’s Frederick County, Maryland campus – about 20 miles from the centre of Ashburn, Virginia.

I’m “proud of the teams who made this happen”, said Snowhorn.

Gift this article