Climate change opens new Arctic subsea fibre route?

Created June 17, 2019
News and Business

The melting of the region’s ice is opening up the possibility of constructing a new Arctic subsea fibre cable route. This month, Finland’s Cinia and Russia’s MegaFon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a joint venture to prepare the build of a submarine communications cable across the Arctic Sea. The partners say the international project would create a completely new route to connect continents, and also to fulfill connectivity requirements of the Arctic region. The Cinia alliance in this phase consists of Japanese and Nordic partners and an international investment bank. The main objective of the MoU is to establish the Development Company by Q4/2019.

A press statement points out that the global economy increasingly depends on international networks and logistics systems, and that the Arctic cable will increase the redundancy of the global networks significantly by providing a totally new route.

The Arctic cable will also offer the lowest-latency sea route between Europe and northern Asia thanks to it following the shortest geographical route and its use of leading edge technology.

“The Arctic cable will contribute to the socio-economic development of the Arctic areas. The cable is an environmentally sustainable way to boost global, regional and local economy,” according to Cinia CEO Ari-Jussi Knaapila (pictured). “At the same time, the cable will connect three continents, covering approximately 85% of the world’s population.”

“MegaFon is proud to join a major international infrastructure project that will not only connect several continents via the Arctic but also will benefit MegaFon as a leader of digital opportunities by enabling the development of network infrastructure for customers in the Arctic region and the Far East,” commented Gevork Vermishyan, CEO of MegaFon.

The new 10,000 km of the Arctic route is designed to offer an optimal combination of low latency, physical diversity and high network availability. Currently, the global network backbone is lacking an optical submarine cable that connects Europe, coastal regions of Russia, Japan and North America.

Cinia previously carried out the construction of 1,200 km of C-Lion1 submarine cable from Germany to Finland, an undertaking it says has proven its ability to lead and execute demanding international submarine initiatives.

MegaFon has experience in the construction and operation of high-speed fibre optic cable networks in Russia and the neighbouring countries, with the total length of its own fibre optic cable network exceeding 200,000 km.


This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.