As Quintillion looks back at the achievements and growth we experienced in 2022, we know there is much to celebrate and look forward to in the new year. It’s been a year of progress, innovation, and adaptation to the quickly evolving landscape of the telecommunications industry. We are deeply honored for the part we get to play in bridging the digital divide in Alaska, and we look forward to the year ahead and continuing to support our Alaskan community, enhance security in the US Arctic, and expand our system in Alaska and beyond in 2023.
2023: Quintillion’s Vision for the New Year
Quintillion is excited for the planned projects and opportunities to come in 2023. Our mission and focus for the new year can be summed up by our IN, OUT, and UP strategy, which is the same road map that has brought Quintillion to where it stands today.
IN: Continuing to Support the Local Alaskan Community
Headquartered in Anchorage, Quintillion is deeply passionate about connecting and opening opportunities for Alaskans across the state. Sponsorship and community involvement will continue to be a strong focus in the year ahead as we seek opportunities to expand and enhance our system.
We know that bridging the digital divide in Alaska can’t be achieved overnight. To further our local mission, our team strives to communicate with local government representatives and key stakeholders, engage and listen to the needs of local communities, and support economic development in unserved and underserved portions of the state.
OUT: Starting Construction for the JAWS Trans-Pacific Cable System
2022 was a year of strategic growth and international outreach. By adding key members to our strategic team and actively working with the Japanese government, Quintillion has made progress toward putting the right pieces in place to begin constructing the JAWS Trans-Pacific Cable system. Construction of this system is planned to start in 2023, with an estimated completion in 2025.
UP: Promoting and Developing the HiLDA Ground Station
Quintillion’s “up” strategy involves our High Latitude Data Acquisition ground station. This LEO ground station is located in Utqiaġvik and serves as a downlinking facility at the highest-latitude location in the United States.
The HiLDA ground station can be used for Ground Station as a Service (GSaas) using Quintillion’s antenna and equipment. Businesses can alternatively lease a dedicated antenna pad and choose Quintillion as a dedicated ground station operator. Quintillion is continuing to develop this site and is actively seeking partnerships and customers who can benefit from a secure, high-latitude ground station on American soil.
Reflecting on 2022: A Year of International Growth and Community Involvement
In 2022, Quintillion focused on developing partnerships and opportunities abroad while continuing to support, invest, and seek new opportunities for growth in the Alaskan community.
Addressing the Digital Divide in Rural Alaskan Communities
A major theme for Quintillion in the past year was closing the digital divide in Alaska and the role subsea fiber has to play in enhancing the quality of life for members of rural Alaskan communities. Increasing access to reliable broadband in underserved areas of Alaska through fiber is a core mission of Quintillion.
In order to bring awareness to this issue, Quintillion released several educational blog posts and contributed to a post from Equinix on Connecting the Under Connected to help highlight the issue on a national scale.
In January, we interviewed Bernice Oyagak, Quintillion’s liaison for Utqiaġvik, and highlighted how access to high-speed fiber in the North Slope Borough provides more opportunities for Alaskans. In one blog post, we highlighted the growth of telemedicine and how fiber allows Alaskans in remote locations to access a wider range of medical and mental health services. We also explored the impact of broadband on education in Alaska and the barriers to broadband access in rural communities that make the situation in Alaska especially challenging.
Supporting the Economic Development of Alaskan Communities
Quintillion cares deeply about giving back to the Alaska community. One way we do this is by partnering with and sponsoring organizations that help drive economic growth in communities throughout the state.
In 2022, here are just a few organizations we had the honor to support.
Iron Dog and the Helmet Program
The Iron Dog race is the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile race in January, which travels through six of the communities Quintillion’s fiber infrastructure serves. Part of our sponsorship in 2022 supported the Helmet Program in Nome, Alaska, where 25 helmets were given to children in local communities to promote safe riding each year.
Quintillion was a sponsor of the annual Accelerate Alaska event. The one-day conference focuses on Alaska’s opportunities and advantages for business owners, managers, leaders, politicians, change agents, and entrepreneurs. Quintillion Mac McHale also spoke at the VIP dinner for this event.
Alaska Community Foundation
Following Typhoon Merbok, Quintillion endorsed the Alaska Community Foundation and supported their relief efforts to the affected communities through the Western Alaska Disaster Recovery Fund. 100% of gifts donated to the AFC went toward ongoing relief efforts, rebuilding and restoration, and direct support for those impacted by the natural disaster.
Additionally, due to the storms that ravaged Western Alaska, Quintillion helped fund the relocation of the Exhibitor Reception for the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators from Nome to Anchorage. The AAHPA is an advocacy organization that promotes environmental stewardship, provides education and scholarship opportunities for students considering careers in the maritime industry, and works alongside State and Federal leaders to support clean and efficient management of ports and harbors across the state.
Quintillion supports Iḷisaġvik College, which is the only tribal college in Alaska, by providing annual bandwidth donations through our fiber optic cable system. In 2022, Quintillion partnered with Alaska Communications to increase this donation by 50 Mbps, providing the school a total of 100 Mbps in bandwidth per year. This generosity has directly impacted the college and its ability to provide high-quality education. With the donated bandwidth Ilisagvik College has shared that the service benefits 124 staff and faculty members, provides access to over 1,500 students, and supports over 350 classes and trainings a year!
Hospice of Anchorage
In June, Quintillion supported Hospice of Anchorage’s 2nd Annual Care for the Carer Campaign to bring hope and connection to the caregivers for Alaska. The organization provides 125 self-care gift boxes to caregivers, close friends, or family members of those with life-limiting illnesses.
Quintillion also supported and attended the Anchorage Mayor’s Charity Ball, an annual event that annually raises funds to support local 501(c)3 charitable organizations during a gala event hosted by the mayor. One of the four organizations that benefit from this support include the Hospice of Anchorage, of which Quintillion’s own Ariel Burr is the Treasurer.
Learning and Contributing Our Industry Knowledge
As a changemaker in telecommunications, Quintillion strives to share its expertise in Arctic security, Alaska business, satellite communications, and the subsea cable industry. As part of our strategic initiatives and company development, the Quintillion team attends and speaks at many events worldwide.
Here are some of the notable events in 2022 we participated in:
- Satellite 2022 Conference: In March, Quintillion team members, Ada Maduakor, and Dana Larson along with President Mac McHale attended the Satellite 2022 conference and Exhibition team.
- ALCOM Arctic Symposium 2022: In May, Quintillion Senior Strategic Advisor General, Charles Jacoby Jr, served as a panelist at ALCOM’s Arctic Symposium 2022. He spoke on the impact of new commercial investments in communications and situational awareness technologies across the pan-Arctic.
- International Telecoms Week 2022: In May, President Mac McHale, Market Development Manager Ada Maduakor, and Senior Manager of Government Program Ariel Burr attended the ITW 200 in Washington, DC. This event covered a wide range of topics related to the telecom industry, including terrestrial connectivity, subsea connect, satellites, and more.
- 25th Submarine Networks World event in Singapore: In September, Matt Peterson, Quintillion’s Chief Technology Officer, led a presentation on Cable Landing Systems in Extreme Conditions. Quintillion CEO, George Tronsrue, was in attendance as well. SNW is the largest annual event for the global subsea industry, with over 800 attendees, 100+ speakers, and 40+ sponsors and exhibitors.
- 2022 Alaska Federal Networking Coordination Meeting: In September, Quintillion VP Ben Cuttriss and President McHale attended this “Industry Day” event by the National Weather Service, NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). During this event, Cuttriss presented on Quintillion’s ground station at Utqiaġvik and its benefits for the NOAA.
- US Department of State’s Cables Training in Hanoi, Vietnam: In October, Quintillion’s CEO George Tronsrue attended this training and discussed the Japan to Washington State (JAWS) submarine fiber cable system that Quintillion is planning to build starting in 2023. There were close to 100 industry participants that attended.
- Moss Adams Telecom 101 Seminar: In October, Quintillion staff members, including Senior Accountant Katherine Belden, attended the Moss Adams Telecom 101 seminar in Las Vegas.
- Job X: In November, Ada Maduakor and Debbie Dean presented at the Job X meeting put on by the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This meeting was held to provide employers an opportunity to meet with vocational professionals to share their business needs.
- Ted Stevens Center (TSC) for Arctic Security Studies at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson: In September, Quintillion President Mac McHale, VP – Strategic Initiatives Ben Cuttriss, and Market Development Manager Ada Maduakor were honored to attend the Grand opening of the much-awaited center at the Combined Headquarters of Alaskan Command, (ALCOM) Alaska NORAD Region (ANR) and 11th Air Force (11AF), Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) Alaska. The Stevens Center is the newest regional center in the U.S. Department of Defense.
Emerging Into the Asian Telecom Market
2022 was also an important year for building strategic relationships in Asia in preparation for the planned Japan to Washington State (JAWS) Trans-Pacific Cable System project. JAWS is “Phase 2” of Quintillion’s system that will link Japan to North America.
This proposed cable provides a vital link for commerce and government. It will replace the current PC1 cable, which is due to be commissioned in the next five years, and it will improve diversity while also providing direct access to Seattle and Portland. It will also provide cost-effective backhaul to Tokyo.
In the summer of 2022, Quintillion hired Dr. Y Niiro as the new director of the JAWS Trans-Pacific Cable System to help boost both the strategic and tactical aspects of the project. His expertise has been crucial in assisting Quintillion to develop a strong partnership with the Japanese government in preparation for building the Quintillion Japan landing.
Growing the Expertise of the Quintillion Team
In addition to Dr. Y Niiro joining as a strategic advisor, Quintillion had the pleasure of adding Clover McNeil and Ben Curtiss to Quintillion’s leadership team.
Clover McNeil was appointed as Quintillion’s Chief Financial Officer, replacing Timothy Leybold, who announced his retirement in 2021. McNeil is a proven and highly regarded telecommunications industry veteran with more than 15 years of CFO and senior level financial management experience for Alaskan telecommunication companies, including Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, Inc. (ASTAC) and Alaska Communications Service.
In her previous roles, Clover has managed oversight of treasury and banking relationships, annual operating and capital budgets, FCC reporting, business financial reporting and projections, audit and compliance management, and policy development.
In July Quintillion hired Ben Cuttriss, who now serves as the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. His primary role is to develop and drive key strategic roles for Quintillion. In his career Ben brings a background in Alaska, national and international fiber optic and telecommunications infrastructure in the carrier and integrator verticals as well as the satellite GEO and LEO verticals. His primary focus is spearheading Quintillion’s efforts to meet the broadband needs of the military and intelligence communities, and the space and telecommunication industries.
Quintillion also hired Dana Raffaniello as Network Engineer and welcomed back Katherine Belden as senior accountant.
Appointing Michael McHale as Quintillion President
In August, Michael “Mac” McHale was promoted to President of Quintillion after four years as the Chief Revenue Officer. McHale is a seasoned telecommunications veteran, with more than 30 years of experience developing and managing broadband infrastructure at organizations such as IBM, AT&T, Hawiian Tel, Virgin Islands Telephone Corporation, and MCI/WorldCom.
Mac is a proven and results-oriented leader in start-up, turnaround and fast-paced organizations. Mac has vast experience in the complete spectrum of Wireless and Wireline broadband/network technologies, all facets of delivering service to both the Business and Consumer markets and the full gamut of financial responsibilities. It is Mac’s industry knowledge, personal credibility and strategic outlook that have been instrumental in negotiating and securing multimillion-dollar investments from both the US Government and private equity markets. These same skills have been leveraged in settlement negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, manifesting exit strategies or other liquidity events.
A Final Thanks
Looking ahead to 2023, Quintillion is committed to continuing its efforts to close the digital divide in rural Alaskan communities, with affordability as a primary goal. The company recognizes that cost can be a significant barrier to access and will work to ensure that its broadband services are affordable for all Alaskans. Quintillion will invest in new infrastructure and partnerships to expand its reach and increase access to reliable broadband while keeping costs low.
In addition to its commitment to enhancing the lives of Alaskans through broadband access, Quintillion will also support national security interests on our fourth coast. The company recognizes that reliable and secure communications infrastructure is critical for national security and will work to ensure that its network meets the highest standards for security and resilience. Quintillion will collaborate with government agencies and other stakeholders to identify and address potential security risks and strengthen the overall security of Alaska’s communications infrastructure.
Quintillion will continue to explore the latest advancements in fiber technology and identify new ways to leverage this technology to enhance the lives of Alaskans. The company will also seek to collaborate with other organizations and stakeholders to find innovative solutions to the challenges facing rural Alaskan communities. Overall, Quintillion remains committed to its mission of enhancing the lives of Alaskans through increased access to reliable, affordable, and secure broadband, and it will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal in the coming year.
True to our nature, Quintillion is not planning on slowing down anytime soon. 2022 was certainly one for the books, and we are grateful for everyone who has been on this journey with us!
We are immensely excited for what lies ahead in 2023 and are so thankful for our partners, the Alaskan communities we serve, and our amazing team.
Want to learn more about Quintillion’s mission and upcoming projects? Contact our team to get in touch or read the Quintillion blog to stay on top of the latest industry news.