The Arctic Connect subsea cable is a Finnish plan to link Europe and Asia through a submarine communication cable on the seabed along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), an initiative of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications and implemented by the Finnish state-owned infrastructure operator Cinia Ltd.
The total length of the Arctic Connect subsea cable will be 13,800 km. The Arctic Connect subsea cable project is expected to be finished between 2022-2023 with an estimated cost of 0.8 to 1.2 billion USD.
The Arctic Connect project is part of the efforts to improve the connectivity in Arctic areas, in line with the objectives of the Arctic Council. Previously, Cinia has already planned and completed the fast and cyber secure C-Lion1 submarine cable connection between Finland and Germany. The Arctic Connect cable aims to meet the current availability of and additional need for fibre-optic connectivity that are planned from Southern Finland to Kirkenes, Norway and Murmansk, Russia.
In March 2016, the Finnish state-owned company Cinia Ltd announced to build the Arctic Connect undersea data cable connecting Europe with Asia. The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication is the majority stakeholder of Cinia Ltd. Cinia has already built the C-Lion1 submarine cable that connects Helsinki and Rostock.
By adding the Arctic Connect subsea cable on the Arctic seabed, Cinia will be able to connect Europe with Russia and Asia, and provide a better internet connection with lower latency, thanks to the shorter distance. Additionally, the lower shipping traffic along the NSR will make Arctic Connect cable less prone to disruptions caused by human activities.
A preliminary study for Arctic Connect was launched in 2015, followed by a political feasibility study conducted the next year.
In June 2019, Cinia and Megafon signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the Arctic Connect subsea cable project. In December 2019, Megafon agreed to create the split-ownership joint venture Arctic Link Development Oy with Cinia for the construction of the Artic Connect submarine cable.
The Artic Connect submarine cable will be owned by an international consortium. According to a report by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication, Norway, Russia, Japan and China have all shown interest in the Arctic Connect project.
Finland has already been successful in attracting investments into building data centres. In September 2019, Google announced an additional investment of €600 million to its already existing Hamina data centre, which raises the total investment by Google in Hamina to almost €2 billion.
In May 2021, Cinia and MegaFon announced to suspend the Arctic Connect project for further feasibility assessment.