The power of connectivity in the Arctic

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.10 Self-governance and regional development in the High North: What (and how) information is used for strategic development?
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Alexandra Middleton (University of Oulu, Finland)
Abstract text

Arctic’s increasing business opportunities in the spheres of tourism, transport, mining, oil and gas and creative industries require efficient connectivity. Arctic territories offer an attractive place for data servers running on green energy. The subsea fiber cable connecting European High North territories with the US and Asia is viewed as an opportunity for improving connectivity in the Arctic. The opening of the Arctic sea creates preconditions for such a project. Globally the developments of such projects are driven more and more by private investment and OTTs (over-the-top), e.g. Google, Amazon, Facebook. In this paper, we answer the question how does the change in connectivity happen in the Arctic, who has the say and who benefits from it. As a theoretical framework, we use Gaventa’s (1982) theory of power and powerlessness. In this paper, we investigate the power and powerlessness of stakeholders at national and regional level. This framework is useful for addressing different financial and political interests of the stakeholders involved in increasing connectivity of the Arctic by means of capital-intensive subsea cable projects. We use secondary data, such as EU and regional policies, stakeholder consultation reports and social media reflections on the topic of connectivity in the Arctic.

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