Quintillion, the Alaska-based communications company, announced in a statement Saturday (August 19) that sea ice conditions have halted travel and repair operations in repairing the damaged fiber optic line. Quintillion planned to begin repair operations August 9th-22nd, and now estimates to restore broadband access August 28th-30th.
In early June (June 13th) the company announced the outage was a result of an ice-scouring event, located north of Oliktok Point. Quintillion initially estimated the break could result in a six to eight-week outage which was updated in late June to be completed in August. It has been ten weeks since broadband access became affected.
According to the statement, forecasted conditions for Tuesday (August 22nd) indicated a window in the ice making it possible to safely access the site and begin operations. The statement included an itinerary for the IT Integrity repair vessel which arrived in Wainwright last week (August 15th). If the forecasted conditions are accurate, the IT Integrity will depart Wainwright and travel to Prudhoe Bay (August 22-23rd), conduct a seven-day repair, and depart the site on August 30th.
Those who were affected by the limited internet access have been experiencing connectivity issues for over two months and are eager to have reliable internet restored. If the sea ice cooperates, broadband internet access should be restored by the end of this month, according to the Quintillion update.
Photo at top: Map showing the location of the fiber optic cable providing internet access to the region