High-speed internet to bring big change in remote Alaska

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Some remote communities in Alaska's northernmost region are finally getting a commodity long taken for granted in much of the U.S.: high-speed internet.

Until now, the region tapping into the new broadband relied on a notoriously slow satellite connection.

The new, faster link by Anchorage-based wholesaler Quintillion is Alaska's piece of a planned international fiber-optic system that would eventually connect London and Tokyo via the Arctic.

The 1,400-mile (2,250-kilometer) Alaska portion includes a land trunk line between Fairbanks and the Prudhoe Bay oil fields that went live in the spring.

In October, ship crews finished installing the last Alaska segment of the subsea cable system between Nome and Prudhoe Bay, and the network became available Dec. 1 to telecom providers.

Company representatives say the project is the result of several factors, including technical advances, willing private investors and a warming Arctic environment that opened up a limited construction season.

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