Staunton, May 28 – Earlier this year, Moscow announced plans to lay a fiber optic cable from Japan to Finland that would not only support the development of the Northern Sea Route but provide high-speed internet service to isolated parts of the Russian North (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/03/northern-sea-route-to-connect-not-only.html).
This project, which some called “the second Northern Sea Route,” was to link 11 regional centers in Russia’s Far North into a fiber optic cable to be laid by an international consortium of companies between Helsinki and Tokyo and to be build by an Arctic Connect consortium of Russian, Finnish, Japanese and Scandinavian companies.
But those plans have now been frozen, backers say, because of problems finding sufficient financing, especially in Japan, thus putting at risk both Moscow’s aspirations for projecting power into the Arctic in this way and developing its own regions along the Arctic littoral (vedomosti.ru/technology/articles/2021/05/26/871515-megafon-zamorozil).
This is no small thing. Given the lack of fiber optic cables in this region, those who want to go online there have had to use more difficult and expensive satellite links, something that has put a crimp on shipping as well as on the development of shore facilities including Russian government operations.
Sources involved in the program tell Vedomosti that they hope to resume work on the project at some point in the future, but in contrast to their bold statements earlier, they are now not giving any timeframe for work on the project to start let alone be completed.