The Arctic route features a shorter distance connecting Northern Europe with Asia.

The Arctic route is attractive but challenging for subsea cables, as well as maritime transportations and vessels.

There have been adventures to build optical fiber subsea cables across the Arctic Ocean, including:

Arctic Fibre

The Arctic Fibre is the earliest attempt to connect Asia, Canada and Europe through the Arctic Ocean, initiated by Canadian Arctic Fibre Inc and dated back to the late 2000s. Arctic Fibre was acquired by Quintillion Subsea Holdings LLC (“Quintillion”) in May 2016. So far, only a small portion of the Arctic Fibre project has been achieved, for its connection within the Alaska region.

Arctic Connect

The Arctic Connect is a Finnish plan to link Europe and Asia through 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, in collaboration with Russian MegaFon. The project was launched for preliminary study in 2015 and suspended in May 2021 due to the lack of commercial feasibility and competitivness then.

Polar Express

The Polar Express is a subsea cable along Russia's northern coast between the village of Teriberka in Kolsky District of Murmansk, on the Barents Sea, to the eastern port city of Vladivostok. The Polar Express subsea cable project was launched in 2021 and is developing by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport (Rosmorrechflot), and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise (FSUE) Rosmorport. 

Far North Fiber

The Far North Fiber aims to link Europe and Asia through the Arctic region, from Japan, via the Northwest Passage, to Europe with landings in the US (Alaska) and Canadian Arctic, Norway, Finland and Ireland.

The Far North Fiber project was initiated in 2022 by Far North Digital, LLC (US Alaskan company), in partnership with Cinia Ltd from Finland and Japanese ARTERIA Networks Corporation, supported by NORDUnet, a collaboration between the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of the five Nordic countries, i.e., Denmark (DeiC), Finland (Funet), Iceland (RHnet), Norway (Uninett), and Sweden (SUNET).

Polar Connect

Polar Connect is a Northern European initiative to obtain secure and resilient connectivity through the Arctic to Asia and North America for Research, Development, Innovation and Education. Polar Connect was initiated by NORDUnet in 2024.

Under its Vision 2030, NORDUnet is investigating two different specific solutions. A direct route passing under the ice cap of the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean, just North-East of Greenland. And an alternative route through the North-West Passage between Greenland and Canada. A submarine cable system passing close to the North Pole via Exclusive Economic Zones would be shorter and thereby minimize latency, however, also more complex in terms of technology and thereby somewhat further into the future. 

Far North Fiber and Polar Connect complements each other, as part of NORDUnet's Vision 2030.