Fiber-optic Northern Sea Route

About "Polar Express"

In November 2020, at the Transport of Russia exhibition, the Ministry of Transport, Rosmorrechflot and Rosmorport announced the start of a project for construction of an underwater transarctic fiber-optic communication line (FOCL) along the Murmansk-Vladivostok route with landfalls along the Northern Sea Route.

Rosmorrechflot and Rosmorport are responsible for the implementation of strategic tasks in the "Polar Express" associated with the development of infrastructure and port facilities in the Arctic region. FSUE Morsvyazsputnik was assigned as the operator of FOCL for consumers. The enterprise will provide interaction with prospective international partners. The "Department of Advanced Technologies" will be responsible for the production of the cables and their laying on the route of the Northern Sea Route. The company has a special team specializing in laying cables and suppliers for this, and also opened a new plant for the production of submarine cables in Murmansk.

On August 5, 2021, the first part of the Murmansk-Vladivostok stage of the Polar Express project began: from Murmansk in the direction of Teriberka, the Norten Wave cable layer set off in the direction of Teriberka, where the deployment of FOCL began in the direction of Amderma (Nenets Autonomous Okrug). The whole stage involves the deployment of FOCL for 12,600 kilometers with calls to all ports of the Arctic coast.

The Polar Express shall be completed in 2026. The project is estimated at 65 billion rubles.


Finnish initiative

Now Arctic Connect is frozen. Megafon suspended the development of the project due to the “passive behavior of partners”. Some experts said that the suspension of construction is due to the delay in negotiations on the implementation of the project by the Japanese side.

On July 17, 2020, the first stage of the construction of a transarctic submarine communication line between Europe and Asia was supposed to begin - conducting marine surveys by the forces of the Rosgeologia fleet. This project was

named Arctic Connect and was initiated by the Finnish company Cinia. The project consisted of a fiber optic link connecting the continents, which are home to 85% of the world's population, providing users with short signal transmission times with the lowest latency that no existing link offers. The bends built from the main line had to provide communication for consumers in the Arctic and the Far East, including enterprises of the fuel and energy complex, which will contribute to the socio-economic development of the region.

Besides, the launch of a 200 Tbit/s communication line will help to cope with the growing volumes of global traffic.

The project was initiated by Finnish colleagues from Cinia, Megafon and Rosgeologia. Each was responsible for their field-specific area. Cinia was supposed to develop the project and attract investments from abroad, while Megafon was responsible for overseeing Arctic Connect in Russia: laying a submarine cable along the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, connecting Europe and Asia. In addition, the head of Megafon Gevork Vermishyan said that this project will provide a unique client experience and access to high-speed Internet for 2.5 million residents of the Arctic region. Rosgeologia was given a task of underwater exploration, researching the rather complex topography of the bottom of the Northern Sea Route, having the necessary equipment and competence in conducting such geological exploration operations.

The cost of all works was called from 800 million to 1.2 billion dollars. According to the project's plans, the deployment of the submarine cable was to be completed in 2023 with an adjustment to the timing due to research and geological data brought in by the Rosgeologia fleet.


"Northern Lights" from "Supertel"

Today, the development of the project is also suspended at the stage of negotiations with government partners.

The third project aimed at deploying a submarine fiber-optic communication line with information transfer rates up to 100 Gbit/s per one spectral channel is called the Northern Lights. Its development began in 2017 with a similar idea - to lay an underwater fiber optic communication line along the Northern Sea Route from Murmansk to Vladivostok through domestic ports with a potential connection to Finland and China. According to information from the Supertel company, the communication lines will ensure the closure of the “ring” with the ground communication, which will increase the reliability of information transmission in

Russia. The complex for the UFOCL includes telecommunication equipment, which will be located at terminal and intermediate coastal points.

Despite the fact that the concept of the Northern Lights appeared several years earlier than rival projects and even found support from the Rossiya Bank.


Photo: полярныйэкспресс.рф