Fiber optic cable cut interrupts internet and cell services

Another Quintillion fiber optic cable cut caused an internet and cell outage, lasting about 12 hours between midnight and noon on Tuesday, in northwest Alaska.  
The cause?
Quintillion CEO George Tronsrue said in an email to the Nugget: “Spring freeze and thaw conditions created pressure, stretching and breaking a fiber strand within the cable.”
Unlike last year’s monthslong outage, when a subsea cable break occurred, this week’s cable failure happened on land and service was restored within a day.
Quintillion President Michael “Mac” McHale said that the team was notified of a network outage between Oliktok Point and the Greater Kuparuk Area, where there is ongoing work. He said Quintillion worked closely with the third party, from whom they lease the affected fiber optic cable, to determine the exact cause.
“Upon learning of the outage late last night, Quintillion mobilized quickly to assess the cause of the outage,” McHale said. “Quintillion’s team at the site determined that one of the fibers on this Quintillion route was broken due to environmental conditions in the Kuparuk River oil-and-gas operating area.”
The outage affected Alaska Communications, GCI, AT&T, Fastwyre, OTZ and Arctic Slope telecom companies.
GCI said in a text to customers that the Quintillion network outage impacted their internet services in Nome, Kotzebue, Utqiagvik and Wainright. Text and call services were not affected. By 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday GCI texted that “Quintillion has resolved its network outage and your GCI services have returned to normal.”
Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative informed their customers via Facebook that Atqasuk, Point Hope, Utqiagvik and Wainright were affected and that they will apply credit to customers after service is restored.
Fastwyre, also relying on the Quintillion cable, has remained silent and hasn’t communicated to its customers any updates on the outage.
According to Nome Mayor John Handeland, the city was cut off from internet and cell service, but 911 emergency calls could still go through, unlike Kotzebue, where AT&T phones could not dial 911.
“Quintillion has restored service for all customers and is continuing permanent repair work to address the damage to the fiber cable to avoid recurrence,” McHale said.


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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