The folks planning to run fiber through the Northwest Passage are still out there, and today took one more step toward making the cable a reality. Arctic Fibre (news) says it has launched a process to quantify Canadian demand for bandwidth on the 15,300km cable that will stretch from Tokyo to London. Canadian carriers and government agencies will have until September 1 (6 weeks from now) to sign up for bandwidth.
The project has continued to evolve, seeking to find viability by tapping two main avenues of support. From the financial vertical, there is the promise of 168ms round trip latency between Japan and England. And from the community development angle, there is the first real chance at fiber for many communities along Canada's frozen northern frontier and the politicians that would like to push it through.
Arctic Fibre says its research shows that there is sufficient demand from international carriers as long as regional demand from Canada and Alaska proves strong enough to absorb its share of the cost. Hence on the proposed network map, you can see how many landing points and branches there are along the way in Arctic ports. It's an ambitious plan looking for as much regional support as it can muster, but it could still easily run aground somewhere between now and November 2014, the proposed launch date if words of support don't turn into dollars or some other form of currency.
Since winter, WFN Strategies has been working on the 'end-to-end desk stop route study', which will be ready next month. That will be followed by an RFP for construction, a vendor decision in Q4, and a marine survey in 2013.
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