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Longest-Ever Fiber-Optic Link Will Run Through Thawing Arctic, Between UK and Japan

• Rebecca Boyle via

Diminishing sea ice in the Arctic could be a boon for international trade — both for heavy ships using the Northwest Passage, and now for speedier telecommunications via new fiber-optic cables. In August, companies will start construction on the first deep sea cables to cross the Arctic Ocean.

A 9,693-mile cable via the Canadian Arctic will link the UK and Japan and shave 62 milliseconds off the present latency between London and Tokyo, meaning potentially millions of dollars for high-frequency traders who rely on ultrafast connections. Optical amplifiers will boost the signal every 31 to 62 miles, reports New Scientist. One other company is also building fiber that will cross the Northwest Passage above Canada, which is normally choked with sea ice but has been clearer of late. A third will snake along the Russian coast, New Scientist says.

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