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Broken Cable Repaired After 14 Weeks

In our August newsletter, we reported on a fiber optic cable break that caused an internet outage for most of Western Alaska.

On September 18th, GCI, a communication provider serving these remote regions, announced the successful completion of repairs to a vital fiber optic cable. This cable holds the key to internet and cellular services for our vast and secluded communities.

In the Arctic Ocean, west of Prudhoe Bay, the cable owned and operated by Quintillion faced a formidable adversary: sea ice. In June, ice gouged the sea floor and severed the cable completely, leaving many in the affected areas with unreliable or, at times, no internet and cellular connectivity.

Quintillion initially anticipated an 8-week timeline for service restoration, but the challenges of the harsh Arctic environment extended the journey.

Heather Handyside, Chief Communications Officer for GCI, shared insights into their efforts to bridge the connectivity gap. When the cable initially broke, GCI swiftly transitioned customers to their satellite and TERRA networks, providing a temporary lifeline of connectivity until repairs were completed in mid September.

Image at the top: Equipment used to repair the fiber cable. Photo by Quintillion, used with permission.

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Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.