Internet, some phones out over a wide swath of Western Alaska after fiber break

Network (Ethernet) Cables

Repairs to a fiber optic data cable supplying nearly all Western Alaska are underway, though a full restoration of internet and some cell service could take up to two months.

That’s the word from Quintillion President Mike McHale.

“This will be a long-term outage … we’re talking about probably a six to eight week turnaround time for the ship to mobilize and for the ice to clear out of the region, but that is the current situation.,” McHale said.

According to a statement Monday from Quintillion, service on the subsea fiber optic network was interrupted over the weekend after a fiber cut caused a system-wide outage.

Initial assessments indicate an offshore cut north of Oliktok Point, near Prudhoe Bay. McHale says heavy ice is the likely cause of the cut.

“We believe that the cut, and we’re confirming this, but it’s a high probability that the cut was a result of significant ice scouring event,” McHale said.

The broken line is 34 miles offshore at a depth of about 90 feet. A pair of ships are being used to aid in the repair.

According to McHale, two repair ships are being mobilized and are enroute to the location of the break.

This is a developing story.

Image at top: A full restoration of internet and some cell service could take up to two months. KNOM file photo


  1. Douglas Bidwell on June 13, 2023 at 4:14 am

    Excellent description….please follow up, we have connections to Barrow that are totally disrupted…any news would be appreciated. Well written, also, short, to the point, descriptive enough to grab one’s attention without redundancy…..thank ou

  2. Bailey Osborn on June 13, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    Good to know! Y’all have the only article I could find on this! My husband is with North Slope School District.

  3. Ramon Gandia / UPS Nome on June 14, 2023 at 12:03 am

    A system like this is known as “Single Point of Failure”.
    I am glad, with my UPS business, that I got Starlink as a backup.
    Works perfectly. No interruptions here. Just pushed the button.