Greenland – Part 4 (The Cable)
Last month’s Konference Sarfarissoq in Nuuk was hosted by Brian Pedersen, the CEO of Tele-Post Greenland, and the focus was the impact of the submarine cable which will soon bring broadband Internet to Greenland. A traditional kayak enabled the symbolic landing. The big news since my August trip is the actual arrival of the Alcatel cable-laying ship which brought the trans-Atlantic fiber optic cable Qaqortoq on Sept. 8th and to Nuuk on the 11th. It was a milestone event and the citizens of both towns were understandably excited. They will be even more so when the cable gets hooked up and the fiber is no longer dark.
Brian Pedersen, the chairman Kaj Egede, the mayor and a cabinet minister received the cable it at the shore. The new submarine cable will include four strands of glass, well protected in a multi-layer set of metal and petrol based materials to allow it to survive buried three feet below the bottom of the ocean — in some areas as deep as 10,000 feet below the surface. The four glass fibers will have a capacity of 2 terabits per second. Compared to what the country of Greenland has today this will be a nearly infinite jump.
The cable is nearly 3,000 miles long and links Greenland to Canada and Iceland. Greenland currently connects to the internet via satellite with slow speeds and at times unreliable service. The fiber broadband link will open new opportunities for Greenland as a hub between North America and Europe. In addition to serving as an alternate route for digital traffic, Greenland’s central location may get the attention of companies building Cloud Computing datacenters. Perhaps the Arctic climate could help keep the servers cool.