Murmansk-Vladivostok High-Speed Digital Infrastructure Being Installed

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Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis 

  • 12,500km fibre optic cable linking Murmansk with Vladivostok to support Arctic 
  • Will provide connectivity to Arctic Free Trade Zone and Northern Sea Passage     
  • Alternative to satellite communications in the far north 

Russia has started building high-speed internet infrastructure in the Arctic to be used by large ports and oil and gas companies, the Federal Sea and River Transportation Agency said on Wednesday. The trans-Arctic underwater fiber optic cable will stretch 12,500 kilometers from the northwestern port of Murmansk to the Pacific port of Vladivostok and is expected to provide connection speeds of 52-104 terabits per second.

The Russian Sea and River Transportation Agency (Rosmorrechflot) said it partnered with the Transportation Ministry and state-run port infrastructure firm Rosmorport to provide “local communication line access to the Arctic zone’s largest ports and localities.”

The project also aims to “create a digital infrastructure for the production and transportation” of fossil fuels and “provide an alternative to satellite communications in northern latitudes,” Rosmorrechflot said.

Russia is expected to allocate 65 billion rubles (US$850 million) for the project, while the first leg of the underwater fiber optic communication line is expected to be laid down in 2021. The entire line will be fully built by 2026. The connections will support Russia’s Northern Sea Route, that connects Europe and Asia. Russia declared the entire Russian Arctic region a Free Trade Zone earlier this year and is developing cities and Ports along the entire coastline to develop the region.

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