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New 24Tbps Arctic Fibre Optic Subsea Cable to Link United Kingdom with Japan

Monday, January 5th, 2015 (8:10 am) - Score 4,688
fibre_optic_subsea_marine_cable

After years of planning, a new undersea fibre optic cable link called Arctic Fibre, which will run from Japan to the United Kingdom (15,700km) and deliver low latency (154ms) data speeds of 24Tbps (Terabits per second), has finally begun the slow process of construction.

The £556 million ($850m) project was first revealed back in 2012 (here) and will compliment several similar submarine fibre optic network builds. Artic Fibre, which should reach land on our side of the map at both Cork in southern Ireland and Highbridge in south west England, will also improve connectivity to Alaska, Canada and the USA. The cable will then come aground on the other side of the map at Ajigaura and Tomakomai in Japan.

Until recently some of those set to be benefit from the project, specifically the remote Canadian and Alaskan communities, had to rely on slow Satellite solutions for their Internet connectivity.

arctic_fibre_map

The network itself will use a three fibre pair cable with a design capacity of 80 wavelengths at 100Gbps (Gigabits per second). Apparently this will deliver two express fibre pairs from Japan to London, total capacity 24Tbps, with one local fibre pair having 5Tbps capacity. The express pairs will not land at the intermediate landing stations, which is intentional so as to enhance network reliability and deliver the low latency.

According to the IEEE, the cable’s final route should be completely plotted by this summer and cable ships moving at an average of 2km per hour will then plough a trench to lay the main cable. The Alaskan and Canadian Arctic segments of the network will be completed and ready-for-service by January 2016, with completion of the full end-to-end network between Japan and the United Kingdom in Q3 2016 (it might be safer to say Q4).

The promise and purpose of Arctic Fibre is to bring affordable broadband communications to Arctic regions, while also creating the “lowest-latency network between Asia and Western Europe” on a “technically diverse, politically secure basis“.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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18 Responses
  1. This looks great, especially for those in the remote Canadian and Alaskan communities. Connectivity between the UK and Japan has always been quite long-winded and reliant on either traversing the USA or going very indirectly via Europe, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia.

    However – if there are 2 fibre pairs on the express route running at 80 x 100 Gb/s wouldn’t that provide that route with 16 Tb/s, alongside the local 5 Tb/s route making 21 Tb/s in total, 16 Tb/s long-haul and 5 Tb/s short-haul?

  2. Somerset

    The UK end is the Vodaphone cable landing station at Brean. A single duct is being installed via Bleadon, Winscombe and Chew Magna to Bath by Hibernia Atlantic.

  3. Andy

    Awesome, can get fibre from the UK to Japan but still not from the end of our street up to the exchange lol 🙂

    • Steve Jones

      If you have available a minuscule fraction of the amount of money that is being spent on this trunk link, then there are any number of companies that will happily install a fibre link for you.

    • It’s all about the £ Sterling.

      I’m sure getting fibre to your exchange from your street is not a major problem. Whether anyone wants to fund it of course is different 🙂

  4. Fantastic – so through the Artic and across the Atlantic is some £35 a metre. The capital cost per Mbyte second is also extraordinary. Is the £556m the total cost? 2Km an hour points >£1.5m a day for a moving playform, that more than a oil drill platform.

    By contrast the £26.9m for 415km (250 miles) to the 20 Scottish Isles was £65 a metre if the press releases are to be believed.

  5. 15,400km of environmental destruction since they are making a trench for this cable to go in.

    • I am intrgued, what damage does at most a .5metre wide and .5 deep do when is then covered immediately? Surely that footprint is tiny. Videoconferencing is replacing some business travel if not a great deal of at least of the potential new busiess travel.

    • Bob2002

      I thought they typically only buried the cable as it approached shore to protect it, in areas of lower risk they just left it on the seabed?

  6. nga for all

    @bob That was my understanding as well.g

  7. Great news! And as someone said above – how is it possible to move and establish a connection between UK and Japan and not a single one in the middle of my town! It took the company a month to make one, I almost thought that this connection will be establish earlier than mine..

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