Russian national operator Rostelecom has allocated RUB2.091 billion (USD63 million) for the funding of a long-planned 2,000km fibre-optic submarine link between Magadan, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and Sakhalin Island; the cable will traverse the Okhotsk Sea. According to Prime business news agency, the telco has set aside RUB1.825 billion for the delivery of equipment and the construction of the underwater portion of the link, while the remaining RUB266 million will be used to fund the deployment of the terrestrial section. The winning company will be chosen based on its expertise in similar projects, with bids accepted until 12 September. The winner will be announced on 30 September, while the contract will be valid until 1 January 2015.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May 2012 Rostelecom joined forces with the self-styled ‘Big Three’ mobile operators – Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), MegaFon, and Vimpelcom – to sign an agreement to deploy the Far East submarine link. However, construction on the project was halted when MegaFon quit the scheme, concerned that its lack of fixed infrastructure in the region meant that it would not gain sufficient benefit from its participation. MegaFon’s withdrawal then prompted Vimpelcom to question its own involvement in the project, wary of the higher financial burden.