China Telecom linked to plans for arctic subsea cable

15 December 2017 | James Pearce


Chinese officials have reportedly held talks with Finland over plans to build a 10,500km subsea cable that would run along the Arctic Circle.

The project would utilise the warming polar ice caps to build a cable linking China with Europe, with officials from China Telecom, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Finland, Japan, Russia, and Norway all reportedly involved in discussions.

The so-called Northeast Passage cable product would offer one of the shortest routes between China and Europe and could go live as early as 2020, with Finnish government-owned company Cinia Group looking for partners, according to Marjukka Vihavainen-Pitkanen, a senior adviser with the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications.

According to the South China Morning Post, Vihavainen-Pitkanen said China Telecom officials expressed an interest in joining the project at September meeting in Helsinki.

The project is estimated to cost around €700 million for construction but would help tackle the growing demand for traffic between Europe and Asia, which is expected to triple over the next five years.

China Telecom said in a statement that it was “open in collaboration for win-win cooperation” and that “no concrete plan has been confirmed at this moment”.

It comes as more cables are being laid in the northernmost reaches of the planet, with Quintillion just completing the first stage of its Alaskan subsea cable, which will ultimately run between London and Tokyo.