Connecting the Arctic while installing submarine data cables between East Asia and Europe?

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.1 Enablement besides constraints: A multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity and its connections to human security in the Arctic
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Juha Saunavaara (Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center, Japan)
Abstract text

The Arctic Ocean used to be one of the last sea areas that were not crisscrossed with submarine communications cables. The drivers of the current change that materializes in the Arctic Connect project and in the project of Quintillion Subsea Holdings, are manifold. On the demand side, attention can be paid to the rapid growth of the global internet traffic and the expected growth in data transfer between Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, the Arctic sea ice decline and technological improvements seem to reduce uncertainty in the feasibility and supply-side. The geography plays an important role as well. If one wants to connect East Asia and Europe, the Arctic Ocean offers a shortcut making the physical cable connection shorter. Finally, these projects are connected with the need to develop internet connections in remote Arctic areas.


The Arctic submarine data cables can thus be approached as enablers of fast and affordable internet for people in the Arctic or they can be understood as ways to connect the global economic centers. As an attempt to clarify the role of the Arctic regions in these projects, answers are sought for the following questions: How do the companies in charge describe the relationship between their projects and connectivity within the Arctic region; how do the representatives of different regions located in the planned route of the cable envision the relationship between these projects and the improvement of connectivity in their regions; what kind of cooperation takes place between the companies and regional actors?

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