MegaFon is commencing the first stage of offshore surveys as part of the Arctic Connect project aimed at building a trans-Arctic subsea telecommunications link that will connect Europe and Asia.
MegaFon and Cinia, a Finnish infrastructure operator, signed a memorandum on establishing an international consortium to build the first-ever trans-Arctic telecommunications link in June 2019.
“The Arctic Connect project involves building a fibre optic link that will connect continents where 85% of the global population is concentrated. Our plan is to provide an unprecedentedly short signal transmission time and minimal latency, outperforming all existing links. Offshore surveys are required to select the optimal route for the link. In 2020, we will conduct a preliminary survey of the seabed profile to identify safe routes in the Arctic seas; in 2021, we will conduct the second phase of the surveys, which will involve a detailed examination of engineering parameters for underwater cable laying, including a study of seabed rock. Similar surveys will be carried out for those sections of the telecommunications link that are outside Russia’s territorial waters,” said Frederic Vanoosthuyze, Adviser to MegaFon’s CEO on Strategic Infrastructure Projects.
MegaFon has partnered with Rosgeologiya to conduct the offshore surveys. The Professor Logachev research vessel operated by this company will cover a distance of 6,500 km, focusing on those sections of the route that are characterised by the most challenging ice conditions in the Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas. The expedition will start on 5 August 2020 in Murmansk and will last three months.
Data traffic between continents is growing rapidly. Demand is generated by OTT services, content providers, international telecom operators and major corporate customers. The launch of the telecommunications link with a throughput of 200 Tbit/s will help to meet this demand. The new fibre optic link will run along the bottom of the Arctic Ocean along the Russian Arctic coast. Extensions from the main route will also provide connectivity to customers in the Arctic and the Far East.