The EMEA submarine cable market continues to be a hive of activity. At the end of 2022, the region saw a new cable go into service; N0r5ke Viking. Anders Vik, Co-Founder of N0r5ke Fibre, the team behind the project, caught up with Total Telecom to share his insights into the first few months since the launch.
The N0r5ke Viking cable went live at the end of 2022; how have the first 4 months been?
We’re very pleased with how the build-out went and especially that we managed to finish the construction on schedule and within budget. Since finalising construction last December, we’ve been busy operationalising ‘N0r5ke Viking‘ and onboarding customers. We have also spent a lot of time on sales activities and getting our plans for a 1,650 km network expansion ready for execution.
Can you share more about the deployment process? Any key learnings and takeaways?
We have acquired a lot of experience and very valuable know-how during the ‘N0r5ke Viking’ deployment process; from the initial route planning and pitching to investors, to securing the necessary funding from new investors and building the 800km subsea cable network.
A decision we made early on was not to go for a turnkey solution, but rather that the N0r5ke team should have a hands-on approach in managing the project from the beginning. We did get most things right, especially selecting some very professional and specialised suppliers who delivered quality as promised. And of course, we had some challenges that needed extra time and focus to overcome.
One important takeaway is the RFQ process for selecting a subsea cable producer, subsea installer, and contractor for all terrestrial construction work. Although a time-consuming process, it was totally worth it and something we’ll make sure to include for all upcoming projects. We’ve also become proficient in how to approach Norwegian municipalities and apply for necessary permits – quite handy as our next project will pass through some 60 municipalities.
Why did you choose this route and landing stations for the project? What impact do you expect the cable to have for local communities in the region?
There are several reasons for choosing the Bergen to Trondheim route as our first build. Firstly, it is a route that previously had little to no available dark fibre for customers in need. Secondly, it is a region with a combined electricity production output of 50 Twh. Thirdly, Bergen and Trondheim are the second and third largest cities in Norway.
The N0r5ke Viking cable will therefore fill an important void on the Norwegian dark fibre map, by providing abundant dark fibre for lease between Bergen and Trondheim, a region with significant production of green hydropower. Along the cable route we ensure connectivity to regional and local fibre networks with our carefully chosen landing sites and ILA huts.
We believe that this region is now even more attractive for establishing data centres, as green power and redundant fibre is available and abundant.
What do the next 12 months look like for N0r5ke Fibre?
There is very good customer interest, so we look forward to onboarding additional dark fibre customers and focusing on operational excellence. If the financial markets are favourable, we do hope to be back in construction mode before year-end and to execute our ‘N0r5ke Viking II’ expansion plans from Bergen to Oslo, and terrestrial from Oslo to Trondheim. The result will be a dark fibre ring connecting the main data centre locations south of Trondheim in Norway, all international subsea and terrestrial fibre connections. We hope that this significantly improved fibre diversity could trigger the construction of more data centres in Norway.
What are you looking forward to at Submarine Networks EMEA 2023?
Submarine Networks EMEA in London is a great event and we really look forward meeting up with new and old friends in the international submarine cable community. This year we’ll also give a short update on ‘N0r5ke Viking’ and our plans to further expand our dark fibre network to both Oslo and Trondheim.
Join Anders and 800+ senior executives from the global subsea market at Submarine Networks EMEA 2023 on 31st May and 1st June. Head to the event website for more details on how to attend the region’s pre-eminent subsea conference.