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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 5,454

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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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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