Arctic fiber-optic cable could benefit far-flung Alaskans

Anchorage Daily News – Alaska Native corporations [e.g., Old Harbor] and a multinational firm are planning to build the first fiber-optic cable between Asia and Europe through the Arctic. The project, estimated to cost roughly $1 billion, involves laying 10,000 miles of undersea fiber-optic cable from Tokyo, along the Alaska coast, through the Northwest Passage, past the southern coast of Greenland to London, company officials said Wednesday. The cable would have two landing points in Alaska — Dutch Harbor and Prudhoe Bay. It would be a major gateway linking Alaska to the rest of the world, particularly to the Pacific Rim, said Walt Ebell, chief executive of the Kodiak Kenai Cable Co., one of the companies involved in the project. He said the project is possible in large part because of the shrinking polar ice cap, which has spurred increased vessel traffic in the Arctic Ocean.

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