Although it hasn’t yet been awarded any broadband stimulus money, Alaskan-based Kodiak-Kenai Cable Company (KKCC) is moving forward with plans to finance and build an express undersea fiber optic cable connecting Asia and Europe routed through the Arctic.

As part of the project, KKCC hopes to also construct 10 landing points at existing communities where last-mile providers could then build and/or extend their connections. (For more, click here).

But so far, the company has not been awarded any stimulus funds.

“In the event Northern Fiber Optic Link (NFOL) is not funded, the Arctic Link project will move forward nonetheless as a stand alone project; and the 142 communities in Western Alaska which otherwise would have been connected to the fiber optic backbone will have to wait to be connected at some date in the future, which would be regrettable,” said Walt Ebell, CEO of Kodiak Kenai.

In its first round of funding the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) did award $25.3 million to Rivada Sea Lion, an Alaska Native Corporation, to bring a 4G wireless high-speed broadband Internet service to 30,000 residents in 53 unserved, subsistence level communities in Southwestern Alaska.

On January 15, RUS and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced a second round of stimulus funds in the amount of $4.8 billion. The agencies plan to accept applications from February 16 to March 15 and announce the second-round awards by September 30.

The agencies have indicated that this round may focus more on last-mile awards than the first funding round, in which middle-mile providers were more favored. (For more, click here).

"In response to lessons learned from the first funding round, RUS is making important changes that will make the process easier for applicants and target our resources toward ‘last-mile’ broadband connections to homes and businesses," said Jonathan Adelstein, RUS administrator, in a statement.

In any event, Kodiak Kenai is moving forward with its plans.

Scheduled to begin construction in 2011, the 10,000-mile undersea fiber optic ArcticLink will run from Japan through the Arctic region to the United Kingdom.

The subsea cable will utilize four 40 Gbps fiber pairs, providing four times the existing capacity per wavelength for a combined system capacity of 6.4 Tbps, with anticipated record-setting latencies of less than 90 milliseconds.

?-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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