Arctic Fibre project starts phase one of Europe-Japan link

19 May 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Alaska company Quintillion takes over Arctic Fibre to build Japan-Alaska-Canada-Europe subsea cable

Alaska-based Quintillion Subsea Holdings has started a project to connect Asia to Europe via the Arctic Ocean. The company says it is already building phase one, a cable around Alaska that will bring broadband to coastal communities by early 2017.

Phase one was originally in the hands of Toronto-based Arctic Fibre, which is now part of Quintillion. The founding shareholders of Arctic Fibre hold an ownership stake in Quintillion and Michael Cunningham, the CEO of Arctic Fibre, has joined the board of Quintillion.

Cooper Investment Partners, a New York-based private investment firm, is the majority investor in Quintillion, said a statement from the company.

Phase one of the project runs from Prudhoe Bay on the north coast to Nome in the west, with spurs to the Alaska communities of Barrow, Wainwright, Point Hope, and Kotzebue.

A terrestrial cable will join Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks and the south coastal city of Anchorage, from which existing subsea cables will connect to the Pacific North-west states.

Japan will be connected in phase two, said Quintillion, and provide redundancy. Then the company plans to connect Europe via the Northwest Passage – to the north of Canada, and across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK, with spurs into select communities in the Canadian Arctic.

According to Arctic Fibre’s own website, the company was set up in 2009 to explore deploying a fibre optic telecommunications system through the Canadian Arctic. The company originally planned to have the whole cable, from Japan to Europe via the Canadian Arctic, in service by the end of November 2014.

Quintillion was then acting as Arctic Fibre’s landing party in the US.