By Joseph Bernstein, Buzzfeed

The Gulf of Boothia is a tall, narrow section of the Northwest Passage—the long-sought sea route through the Arctic Ocean—that resembles a Chinese dragon diving down into the Canadian north. For most of Canada’s history, and thousands of years before, it was bound in Arctic pack ice: impassable. Over the past fifteen years, that has changed. Ice clearances in the gulf can now last for eight weeks or longer, from August to October.

To the scientific community, that’s another drop in the ocean of evidence for climate change. To one Canadian telecom startup, however, it’s a chance for an unprecedented, hugely complex business venture: to connect London and Tokyo directly via fiber optic cable.

Later this month, Toronto-based Arctic Fibre will announce major investment from several New York private equity funds. Soon after, the company will begin elaborate marine surveys, now feasible because of the iceless weeks in late summer. They’re the final step before laying fiber optic cable along the Arctic Ocean floor. And if climate and commerce permit, by the end of 2016, Arctic Fibre will have built a single, nearly 10,000 mile-long undersea network connection between Somerset, in England’s southwest, and Ibaraki Prefecture, on the east coast of Honshu. At a cost of $620 million, they will have threaded internet through the Arctic Circle.

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