Arctic activities are hotting up

19 January 2012 |


The race is on to connect Europe and Asia by the shortest possible geographic route across the Arctic, as both Polarnet Project and Arctic Fibre move towards implementing their plans for subsea cable systems.

The Russian company Polarnet Project has announced a tender for the supply of the Russian Trans Arctic Submarine Cable System (ROTACS). This is a 17,000km trans-Arctic subsea cable system connecting London and Tokyo, which aims to shorten latency between Europe and Asia by laying cables along an Arctic route through Russian territorial waters.

The Russian government approved the construction of the cable in October 2011, and Polarnet Project aims to begin construction of ROTACS in the second half of 2012.

Polarnet Project has conducted extensive marine survey operations in the Arctic region, which it reports have proved the feasibility of laying a submarine cable system in ice conditions.

The company claims that ROTACS is “the first system to be built along the unique trans-Arctic geographic route”, and that it is “opening a new chapter in the history of global submarine telecommunications”.

Meanwhile, the Canadian developer Arctic Fibre has appointed AP Telecom as pre-sales manager to assist in the development of a 15,600km submarine cable linking Japan and northern Asia to the US, Canada and northern Europe.

The Arctic Fibre network will pass through Canada’s Northwest Passage and Greenland’s iceberg alley. There is speculation that the first link in the system will be built in Q3 2013.