Thursday, July 14, 2016

Arctic Broadband Summit

Coincidentally, there is a meeting occurring at the same time I happened to be here in Barrow. The Arctic Economic Council (AEC) and the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. (ASRC) are the sponsors of the meeting. The panels have been pretty diverse with speakers ranging from the principals of OneWeb and Quintillion to the U.S Department of Commerce and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commision.

It was great to hear how far Quintillion was and that they really plan on having phase I service available first quarter of 2017. Quintilion is laying undersea cable off the north coast of Alaska (phase I). Phase II is extending to it to Japan, phase III is the north coast of Canada through the southern northwest passage and phase IV is on to Europe. This started out as a Canadian project but it has turned into an Alaska project.

Wednesday turned out to be an unusually beautiful day and felt extremely warm. Not as miserably hot as it has been in Fairbanks. 65°F sound so much better than 98°F. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to going back to that in a few days. There is ice still on the horizon and today's forecast is for strong winds driving the ice back into the shore. I'll take another photo later today and add that photo. Today, there was so much fog that visibility was down to less than ¼ of a mile.

I opted to skip the "tour of Barrow" that was on the schedule and when stopped at Arctic Grocery, I noticed this decorated trash can. I'm told that there was a contest a few years back and many of the dumpsters still show those decorations.

Thursday afternoon update -  There was a pretty stiff breeze today but it wasn't directly towards shore. But it was enough to move a lot more ice towards the shore. There was quite a bit of discussion today about the ice as the cable laying vessels are around Point Hope waiting for clear water.


redlegsrides said...

There must be more lodging than I assumed for such a small town, to be able to host conferences like that. I'd not heard of quintillion, should be quite the undertaking!

RichardM said...

Barrow does have quite few beds as they cater not only to tourists (nice hotels) but also to large construction projects (less nice but still warm and dry) and they pulled a lot of busses out of storage to provide transportation. Quintillion is an Alaska based company. The project is pretty ambitious and it started out with a Canadian company called Arctic Fiber. They did the initial proposal as a shorter, faster route from Tokyo to London. There was a lot of interest from the financial/trading side due to a significantly lower ping time. I'm guessing that more interest came post-Snowden as a route that didn't pass through the U.S. but that probably went away when the project changed hands into a U.S. owned company.

VStar Lady said...

98 degrees, that's hotter than many places further south. I'm surprised there is any ice left to blow toward shore.

RichardM said...

The 98°F was in Fairbanks not Barrow. Today, it was 34°F here and there is sea ice as far as you can see which isn't very far due to the fog.

Trobairitz said...

98 in Fairbanks? Makes me appreciate the 70 degree weather we've been having.

RichardM said...

No one in Fairbanks has air conditioning so it's even more miserable.