Russia is constructing its own undersea cable link, the “Polar Express” to improve communications and infrastructure in the north of the country and supply a stable internet connection to its remote hydrocarbon-rich areas
The work on the undersea fiber optics communication network started this Friday when a vessel was seen laying the optic cables and sailing along the coastline near the village of Teriberka on the Barents Sea. The project is expected to complete by 2026 and will pass 7,860 miles from Russia’s northern coast to the far eastern port of Vladivostok. The cable link will be operated by a government company called Morsviazsputnik to provide high-speed internet in the Arctic port towns as well as Kamchatka peninsula and Sakhalin. According to Alexei Strelchenko, head of the cable manufacturing and laying company, it would cost around $889 million dollars to build this cable link which would be financed by the Russian state.
The manufacturing of the cables is taking place in the Arctic city, Murmansk and uses a combination of Chinese optical fiber and Russian components. According to the chief executive of Morsviazsputnik, Andrey Kuropyatnikov, the project would also require foreign investment for the additional connection of cables with the global communications network. “That (will entail) partnership in terms of co-investment to expand the project to Europe and Asia. This is a separate commercial project, talks are being held with companies in Asia, Europe and the United States,” he said.
There was a similar cable project called “Arctic Connect” run by a private company which was halted in May due to technical difficulties and couldn’t be approved by the Russian state due to security concerns. Hopefully, the Polar Express would not meet the same fate and reach its completion in the following years.