North-east Passage data cable would be “a game changer”

The data cable would reduce the latency of data traffic between Europe and Asia from approximately 250 to 165 milliseconds.

Finland's position as a hub for data traffic would be consolidated further by the construction of a telecommunications cable along the North-east Passage, says Alpo Akujärvi, the head of data centres at Invest in Finland.


“We'd be talking about a game changer,” he states.


The telecommunications cable would according to him shift the geographical centre of gravity of data traffic between Asia and Europe. Most of the data is currently transmitted first through Amsterdam, Frankfurt or London and then through either the Americas or the Middle East to East Asia.


It would also substantially reduce the latency of data traffic between the two continents, adds Akujärvi. “[The latency] of the route through the Suez Canal, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean is around 250 milliseconds. The new cable would eliminate nearly 40 per cent of the latency,” he explains.


There are no political or technological obstacles to constructing the telecommunications cable, according to a feasibility report presented to Anne Berner, the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications, on 25 November. The authors of the report determined, for example, that many of the key countries, such as China, Japan, Norway and Russia, would be interested in participating in the project.


Berner assures that she is committed to taking immediate action to advance the project due to its significance to banks, game studios and the global development of the Internet of Things.


“As a link between the North-east Passage and Baltic Sea cables, Finland would have an excellent opportunity to become an international data traffic node,” she says in a press release from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.


Finland is an ideal hub for data traffic also due to its effective data protection regulations and functional infrastructure, reminds Akujärvi. The country is also launching reforms to accommodate the upcoming recommendations of the European Union concerning data protection and surveillance.


“The Finnish power grid is also one of the best and most reliable in the world,” he adds.