Arctic Fiber Optic Cables

Sea ice melting in the Arctic

A week before Christmas, I shared a story on Twitter from Capacity (here) magazine about a new 2,000 km submarine cable linking Oysanden, Norway (just south of Trondheim) and Killala Bay, County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland. The cable will be called Celtic Norse and will make northern Norway an international hub and very attractive for large data centres. Norway has plenty of land and vast amounts of renewable power and a climate that makes it attractive for hyper scale data centres. The cable will cut the latency to Eastern USA by 30%, effectively making Northern Norway a thousand miles closer to New York than routing south through Oslo and the European continent.

Reading it made me wonder why we cant build more submarine cables in the Canadian Arctic ? Our population in Nunavut is entirely dependent on satellite services. There are some terrestrial cables in the Yukon and Northwest Territories but still large parts of all the three territories are woefully underserved. Resource development such as mines and oil and gas projects need access to modern telecommunications. The people living in the North deserve access to modern telecom as well to thrive and prosper.

If you look at the map of the worlds submarine cables regularly put out by Telegeography, you can see that Iceland is served by multiple fiber optic subsea cables. Greenland is served from Iceland and also from Newfoundland. Even the Svalbard Islands halfway between continental Norway and the North Pole is served by two cables. Why can’t we build them here in Canada ?

One of the most publicized effects of climate change is that the Arctic ice is melting. The ice cover is not as extensive, nor for as long a period. As the ice is receding, new passageways have emerged for laying subsea fiber optic cables. It is a golden opportunity for Canada to better serve our population, businesses and government in the North. It could also be an modern opportunity for the NorthWest passage.

There is a company in Finland, Cinia Group Oy that is building a Northeast passage cable, Arctic Connect, that would stretch from Helsinki to Tokyo. It would run along the Russian Northern Sea route and cut latency between Europe and Asia dramatically. So why cant we in Canada build a route through our NorthWest passage to connect London, U.K. and Tokyo ? Surely financial traders would love a new route that also cut latency.

These are questions that I will be exploring in AurorA in the coming months. You will see new sections coming on this website devoted to Remote Communications. Arctic cables, satellite systems for both voice and Internet and Global IoT machine to machine systems. Connectivity in some of the remotest and harshest environments in the world is an area AurorA will be exploring.

Stay tuned and contact me if you have any interest in these areas as well.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: