From the Arctic’s Melting Ice, an Unexpected Digital Hub

From the Arctic’s Melting Ice, an Unexpected Digital Hub

2017-12-02 10:00:47

Quintillion makes money leasing the bandwidth from its undersea cable network to local telecoms that then bring internet service directly to homes and businesses in Alaska. The company has not announced its business plans for connecting internet service between Asia and Europe, but will probably use a similar model.

Although that is a relatively small number of people, Quintillion believes it will increase along with what the company expects to be broader commercial growth in the region driven by oil and mineral exploration. With broadband service available, Quintillion is also betting that more data centers, research centers, hospitals and schools will make the Arctic Circle home.

Other broadband-internet providers have the same idea. Cinia, a telecom company owned by the Finnish government, has completed the first stage of a multiyear plan to lay a subsea broadband network between Europe and Asia through the Arctic Ocean. Cinia, which expects the Arctic network to cost about $700 million, just completed the first leg, from Germany to Finland.

Today, much of the internet communications between the continents run through Asia, including through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The shorter route planned by Cinia would bring a 35 percent decrease in latency, or delay, the company said.

“The financial sector wants the shortest route for trading, and we are talking about fractions of milliseconds, but it makes a difference,” Ari-Jussi Knaapila, Cinia’s chief executive, said in an interview. Multiplayer video games that connect participants around the world also demand faster internet traffic with less delay, he added.

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