Quintillion Arrives In Unalaska, But There's Still No Plan For High-Speed Internet On The Island

Jul 18, 2016

Quintillion will lay fiber optic cable for six landing sites along Alaska's coast this summer. City Manager Dave Martinson says he's speaking with company representatives about adding Unalaska in a future phase.
Credit Quintillion

The Ile de Brehat is in Dutch Harbor. The ship is stopping in port on its way up the Alaskan coastline, where it's scheduled to lay fiber optic cable this summer and deliver high-speed internet by early next year.

The vessel is owned by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks — a French contractor installing the undersea cable on behalf of Quintillion.

Quintillion is the Anchorage-based telecom company is in charge of the project, which will bury more than a thousand miles of cable from Prudhoe Bay to Nome.

So even though the ship is in Unalaska right now, there aren't any plans to bring high-speed internet to the island. At least, not yet.

City Manager Dave Martinson said he'll meet with Quintillion representatives while they're in town on Monday.

"I'm going to continue my discussions with as many of them as I can on the need for high-speed internet and a fiber optic cable to come to the island," he said.

Martinson has already had two meetings with Quintillion. But so far, he said company reps have been vague about future plans.

"They really don't want to get in-depth in conversation until they get this project actually underway," he said. "So once the ship gets out of here and starts laying cable, we can start to have the conversation on what's in the realm of the possible and start talking about cost."

In the meantime, Martinson said another Quintillion contractor has asked to lease property for a storage facility in Unalaska. Salefish Solutions is looking for a 40-by-40-foot space to house extra cable in case of emergencies.

Martinson said the city is putting together a request for proposal, and the Unalaska City Council will have to approve the action before a contract can be awarded.

The Ile de Brehat is passing through Dutch Harbor now before cable crews head north. Its sister ship is also on its way from France and will come through Unalaska in early August.