The latest effort to build a subsea cable through the Arctic took another step forward today. Cinia and ARTERIA Networks have signed a memorandum of understanding to build the cable system, which would connect northern Europe and Japan via the fabled Northwest Passage.
ARTERIA builds and operates networks in Japan, focusing on MDUs and custom corporate solutions. They bring regional knowledge of North Asian markets to the team’s efforts, with Cinia handling the northern European side of things. What they don’t yet have is overt hyperscaler involvement, though I highly doubt those guys aren’t around in this somewhere. Alcatel Submarine Networks is on tap for engineering, procurement, and construction for the project.
As currently envisioned, Far North Fiber will stretch some 14,000km, with endpoints in Ireland, Norway, and Finland in Europe, possibly two sites in Japan, and multiple potential branches to sites in Greenland, Canada, and Alaska along the way. With global warming there is less ice in the region’s waters, making it easier to envision cable ships plying these waters to lay the cable. The folks that get to do that will certainly have a tale worth telling.
But there’s a reason efforts to build through the Arctic have not yet come to fruition. Far North Fiber is projected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of €1B, and it’s not yet clear where those resources will be coming from here. Cinia had previously looked to build such a cable in the Russian Arctic, but those plans ran aground after several years of work. Whether this new effort finds a viable path forward or not, they do mean business. If all goes well, they envision an RFS date of 2025.
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