Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 507

Arctic Yearbook 2014 507 project. The project does not lend itself to private financing, given the small client base envisaged. Nunavut has only 35,600 inhabitants (Statistiques Canada, 2013) and Nunavik 11,000 (Statistiques Canada, 2007). Public funds would be a sine qua non condition for the project to go through. A Catalyst to Initiate Northern Development? Arctic regions, including the Far North of Canada, have limited infrastructure, making economic development challenging at best, and always costly. Transport costs are higher than elsewhere and reliable communications do not exist due to meteorological conditions. Internet connectivity could give these regions the boost they need to kick-start development, attracting investors and initiating broader development. Table 1: Summary of submarine fiber optic cables for the Arctic PROJECT NAME CONNECTIONS ESTIMATED COSTS R.O.T.A.C.S. Japan, England & Russia via Terberka, Anadyr & $1.9 billion US Vladivostok; including regions of the Russian Arctic Arctic Fibre Japan, USA (7 native communities of Alaska; also Seattle); Canada (7 northern $650 million US communities in Nunavut); Ireland & England Ivaluk Network The 26 northern communities of Nunavut & the 14 communities of Nunavik in northern Québec; $800 million CAN including an extension in the Northwest Territories IMPLEMENTATION End of 2016 January 2015 for the cable in the Arctic; & November 2016 for the completed project Exact timeline to be announced Several recent examples from circumpolar states show that this hypothesis bears out over time. High-speed connectivity can be a critical factor for development, given that they have other assets to attract investors already. Iceland is a good example, with the reconversion of the former NATO base in Reykjanesbaern to a data center for Verne Global and Colt (Pialot, 2012). Hydraulic and geothermal power5 provide renewable energy, the Arctic climate provides fresh air and a high-speed connection via several submarine optical fiber cables. The upcoming Emerald Express cable (end of 2014) will enhance Iceland’s connectivity since it will be directly connected to North America via New York, and to Europe via Ireland.6 These competitive advantages may attract other companies, especially when one considers that Iceland has a lower cost of power per megawatt/hour than in Europe, at 38 euros versus 42 euros in France (Godeluck, 2012). Finland offers yet another example with Google’s investments, where the internet giant set up servers in an old factory. Facebook has chosen to invest in Sweden with a similar server site, a total surface area of 84,000m² (Clairet, 2012). The Arctic: A New Internet Highway?