The prospect of using the Arctic Ocean as an infrastructure highway will remain elusive for a while longer yet. According to Cinia, the Finnish operator helping drive Arctic Connect says that the project has been put on hold for now.
The 18,000km cable would connect Scandinavia with the Far East by hugging the northern coast of Russia, and has been at various stages of development over the last few years. The offshore survey began last summer, and this year they were due to start the construction tender process with an RFS date aimed for 2023.
However, the key stakeholders have had to suspend things, reportedly due to stalled negotiations with partners in Japan. Cinia and MegaFon remain committed to the idea which would provide both major capacity and total diversity from other routes. However, the funding for such a project that may cost as much as $1.2B is something one has to get right first.
Will it still happen? My guess has always been that projects like this will need non-private sponsors to fill the gaps and make it happen. But one day all the pieces will be in place and the cable ship will leave the dock.
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