Polarnet reveals USD2bn trans-Arctic cable plans

18 Oct 2011

According to news agency Interfax, Russian firm Polarnet has been granted approval by the Governmental Commission for Federal Communications and Technological Issues to commence work on a trans-Arctic communications cable worth almost USD2 billion. Polarnet deputy general director Ruslan Saushkin has confirmed that the project will be implemented in three steps, with phase one involving the deployment of a cable link spanning from Bude, UK to Tokyo, Japan via Murmansk, Anadyr and Vladivostok in Russia; the first stage of rollout has been priced at USD860 million. The second stage of rollout will see Polarnet extend the communications cable to the coast of the Russian Arctic and Far East territories and will require funds worth approximately USD500 million. The third and final phase of deployment will see Polarnet lay the land-based segment of the cable, in partnership with domestic oil pipeline firm Transneft.

According to Saushkin, the 17,000km cable will have a capacity of 9.6Tbps, and a lifespan of around 25 years. The line will be divided into a ‘Western’ segment, reaching from the UK to Murmansk (4,600km); a ‘Central Arctic’ section, covering Murmansk to Anadyr (6,600km) and an ‘Eastern’ component, spanning Anadyr to Vladivostok (4,900km, alongside three extensions of 1,600km apiece); a direct link to China has also been mooted for future connectivity. The line’s signal delay indicator will reportedly stand at 190 milliseconds between London and Tokyo, which is less than the competitive routes between London and Tokyo across the Indian Ocean (340 milliseconds) and US territory (310 milliseconds). Interfax reports that the Polarnet project is being bankrolled by Oleg Kim, a well-known businessman with links to a number of diverse industries.