GUEST COMMENTARY: Quintillion focused on a bright future for Alaska
Despite the disturbing circumstances that led to the recent arrest of the company’s former CEO, I am incredibly proud to be working for Quintillion and with its team. I have been in the telecommunications business for 35 years and have yet to see a team as dedicated to its mission as the one I lead today.
The small team of women and men of Quintillion, together with our investors and partners, have remained focused on the job and our clients. As a result, we have built and now operate a world-class fiber optic network that is transforming communities, businesses, and lives in Alaska’s Arctic.
I want to acknowledge that what is alleged to have occurred is appalling, and not representative of the way Quintillion or its people do business.
Equally important to note is that Quintillion’s board of directors were the ones who discovered the wrongful activity, conducted a detailed and extensive internal investigation, voluntarily reported these findings to the U.S. Department of Justice, and were the first to notify Quintillion’s customers and lenders.
Quintillion itself, along with its investors and lenders, were the victims of the charged conduct. We will continue to fully cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice as they prosecute this matter.
While all this transpired, we nevertheless still had an important job to do. Our management team focused on completing construction and providing commercial service to all of our clients and end users across our complete network.
I am tremendously proud that our team responded aggressively to this challenge and diligently executed the plan to construct and operate a remarkable system, in a place where nothing like this had ever been done.
Along with a new 500-mile terrestrial fiber system from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, Quintillion’s team built a 1,200-mile subsea fiber system, the first-ever submarine cable system in the North American Arctic, which, in fact, did go live on time on December 1, 2017, and has performed flawlessly for our customers ever since.
That network has the ability to serve some 20,000 residents and businesses in the Alaska Native communities of Utqiaġvik, Point Hope, Wainwright, Kotzebue, and Nome — communities that have epitomized the term “digital divide.”
The majority of these communities have been without reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband, or any kind of meaningful modern cell service. The Quintillion network is now providing access to high speed broadband capacity for telecommunication service providers at a significantly lower cost per megabit, providing dramatically improved quality of service over existing satellite and microwave options. Quintillion’s infrastructure is enabling isolated communities to connect to the outside world in a manner that is historic.
From telemedicine to virtual classrooms and on-line training programs, these communities are starting to leverage our system to the benefit of their patients, students and consumers.
One school has had its internet bill cut by two-thirds. Downloads are faster. Businesses are able to order supplies faster. One community has a public center offering free wi-fi and video conferencing. Entrepreneurs are selling their wares on-line. What is happening is truly transformative, and given we have only been in service for four months, this is only the beginning.
Quintillion is seeing success in all of our markets, and we and our investors are confident that we will continue to deliver unique value to those who we serve, and we view our mission as greater than any individual parts.
At Quintillion, our focus is on the future we can achieve for the benefit of many. Our management team and investors are fully engaged and committed, and we will remain steadfast and in pursuit of these goals until the job is completed.
George Tronsrue III is the interim CEO of Quintillion Inc.