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News / Brèves

Chinese-Finnish Joint Project on New Arctic Cable

4 February 2018

EIRNS—The publication of China’s "Polar Silk Road" strategy a week ago is accompanied by several other flanking initiatives, one of these being that China and Finland have begun to design the project of a new trans-Arctic sea cable along the Scandinavian-Siberian coastline, planning to also recruit Japan and Norway into the project. A glimpse into it is provided by the Maritime Executive industry journal which reports that "a trans-Arctic sea cable cuts the distance between Asia and Europe by roughly 40%. The shorter the physical cable distance, the lower the latency (total round-trip data transmission time)....

"To date, two Arctic routes have been touted, yet only one has made it to the development stage. The first route treks along the Northwest Passage, along Canada’s Arctic coastline. This cable links data from London to Tokyo and is well into development...." Originally a Canadian venture, this project was acquired by the Alaska-based firm Quintillion. "In late 2017, the first phase of the network was completed. The 1900-m phase along the Alaskan coast is to be followed by the Asia-Pacific segment....

"The second route follows the Northern Sea Route along the Northeast Passage, hugging Russia’s coastline. Named ROTACS (Russian Optical Trans-Arctic Cable System), the route links London to Tokyo via branches in Russia and Beijing. It is approximately this route that Finland and China have revived and rebranded to meet the expected rise in Europe—Asia data transfer needs."

Rainer Apel