In many respects, living in Finland is like living at the edge of the world. Greek explorer Pytheas, who lived over two millennia ago, called this remote corner of our planet Ultima Thule, or ”as far north as it gets”.
Living in a far-away land has its benefits. The society is stable. There are no extreme weather conditions or natural disasters to speak of (if you don’t count in sub-zero temperatures in winter).
Pytheas probably would have had a hard time imagining that far-away regions might someday play a central role in modern communications. In the olden times, all roads led to Rome.
Now, as data travels nearly at the speed of light, network cables are the lifeline of both business and personal communications. They give newfound importance to places which lay strategically between regions: just as Finland lies between Europe and Asia.
A recent example: the C-Lion 1 subsea cable connects Rostock in Germany and Helsinki in Finland with an extra fast and super low latency optic fiber cable. This makes our distant land a central hub for connections between Central Europe and the vast Asian and Russian markets.
It’s been estimated that 80 percent of all Internet traffic between Western Europe and Russia goes through Finland. Not a mean feat by any means! This proves that even small countries can have strategic significance in the modern world.
Silk road, version 2020
And this is just a start. Finland has now started to plan a new fast connection to Asia. The Arctic Connect project, also dubbed as “The Northern Silk Road”, would utilize the Northeast Passage. It’s a waterway that goes along the Arctic coast of Northern Russia, slips through the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, and reaches the teeming coastal metropolises of China and Japan.
The first confirmed complete crossing along the Northeast Passage was made by the famed Finnish explorer A.E. Nordenskiöld in the late 19th century. The proposed new subsea cable, if realized, would be a great addition to this northern heritage.
In its time, the Silk Road opened new political and economic relations between civilizations. The Northern Silk Road has every possibility to become a new avenue for digital business, communication, and art.
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