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Aloha to new far North fiber connections

Aloha to new far North fiber connections

The PTC23 conference in Hawaii marks an opportunity for NORDUnet to forge international partnerships.

Figuratively, the path to new fiber connections in the far north passes through Hawaii. Presence at the PTC23 (Pacific Telecommunications Council 2023) conference in Honolulu, January 15-18, forms an important element of NORDUnet’s strategic efforts to strengthen the digital sovereignty of the Nordic research and education communities.

“The PTC has established itself as the world’s leading conference for the global telecommunications industry. This will be the first time the conference is back in full strength after the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope to forge important partnerships during these four days,” says Jørgen Qvist, Chief Network Operating Officer at NORDUnet.

Polar-Connect at PTC23

NORDUnet leads the Polar-Connect project aimed at establishing a fiber link from Norway via Svalbard through the Arctic Ocean to North America and Japan and respectively. Further, NORDUnet has signed a Letter of Intent with Far North Fiber (FNF), expressing interest in a dedicated fiber pair in the FNF Submarine Cable System between Norway/Finland and Japan.

Recently, NORDUnet has obtained financial support from the European Union for developing the Polar-Connect project and the Nordic NREN Vision 2030.

In relation to FNF, NORDUnet is currently working to establish a consortium of NREN (national research and education network) organizations in Europe, Asia, and North America to invest jointly in the cable pair for the lifetime of the system.

“Our role is different in the two projects. While we are leading the Polar-Connect project, we look towards a commercially oriented relationship with FNF. Still, we need to form partnerships in both projects,” explains Jørgen Qvist.

Meeting Face to Face

At PCT23 more than 1,300 industry participants from more than 60 countries will listen in on more than 185 presentations. Further, several side events are planned. Jørgen Qvist will give presentations on Arctic Connectivity and Polar-Connect at two such events, a Smart Cables workshop organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations and partners, and at an event for NRENs.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, PTC was held online.

“I did attend, but to be honest the virtual format was not ideal for our purpose. While one could listen in on the presentations, the real value of attending the conference lies in the chance to meet people face to face. Fortunately, this will now be possible,” says Jørgen Qvist.

These personal meetings rarely come about casually, the Chief Network Operation Officer notes:

“There is a lot of homework required. Since everybody comes with a packed schedule, it is imperative to have your meetings lined up in advance.”

The PTC23 (Pacific Telecommunications Council 2023) conference takes place in Honolulu, Hawaii, January 15-18, 2023.

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