7 Questions with Inger Gloersen Folkeseon: Talking Network Trends With Bulk Fiber Networks’ Executive Vice President

As published in the July Issue of SubTel Forum Magazine

July 20, 2022

  1. What is Bulk Fiber Networks’ mission?

Bulk’s mission is to accelerate the evolution towards sustainable connectivity.

The Nordics offer affordable and abundant clean hydropower enabling large-scale data processing to operate sustainably while minimizing costs. Bulk’s fiber networks are connecting the Nordics with the world’s major markets through scalable, sustainable infrastructure.

  1. How does Bulk Fiber Networks participate in the submarine cable market?

We are a neutral fiber network provider delivering flexible, diversified and sustainable digital connectivity solutions. Today we have more than 10,000 km of dark fiber routes available, including both intercontinental and intra-Nordic infrastructure that links to major European and US markets.

  1. Is Bulk Fiber Networks currently involved with many new submarine cable projects?

Our next large cable project is the Leif Erikson subsea system, which will connect two of the main renewable giants in the world, the Nordics and Atlantic Canada, in order to grow sustainable digital infrastructure driven by an abundance of renewable energy. The system will also secure a true diverse route avoiding the route similarities in other trans-Atlantic networks. The Leif Erikson Cable System will consist of a 4,200 km direct link between southern Norway and Atlantic-Canada connecting into Goose Bay, including plans to extend the system terrestrially back to Montreal. The system will be the first trans-Atlantic cable powered with 100% renewable energy in line with Bulk’s vision to bring sustainable infrastructure to a global audience.

  1. What makes Bulk Fiber Networks unique in the submarine system market?

We are the only neutral fiber network company that delivers flexible, diversified and sustainable digital connectivity solutions into the Nordics supporting mission-critical applications and services.?

  1. What are the elements of Bulk Fiber Networks’ success?

All of Bulk’s investments are based on 4 criteria, it has to be: Sustainable, Infrastructure, Scalable and the Nordics has to be part of the equation. We strongly believe that the Nordic region is uniquely positioned to accommodate the growing demand for sustainable data processing, and Bulk Fiber networks unlocks this demand with our diverse routes into the region. An example is the Havsil system completed earlier this year, which is the shortest route connecting Norway to continental Europe with unmatched capacity, improving diversity by avoiding the traditional fiber routes.

  1. As sustainability has become a hot button issue in our industry, what are Bulk Fiber Networks’ plans for sustainable operations going forward?

For Bulk, location is key to achieving sustainable solutions. Regions where renewable energy is available, such as the Nordic countries or Canada, provide locations that ensure a high level of sustainability from day one. These regions also offer a stable political environment, low climate risk and a well-developed legal and organizational framework that protects employees. The need for digital infrastructure increases dramatically, and sustainable locations are necessary to avoid destructive environmental impact. A customer moving their data from a data center in central Europe to Norway will for example reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from power consumption by 96 per cent. Fiber networks connecting the Nordics to the rest of Europe and Northern America ensure low latency and high capacity connectivity, enabling data center facilities powered by renewable energy.

Last year Bulk started to map emissions for full scope 1-3 according to the Green House Gas Protocol. Scope 1 is direct emissions, scope 2 is indirect emissions from the grid, and scope 3 is indirect emissions not owned by Bulk. A lesson learned from the mapping process was that scope 3 represents more than 90 per cent of all emissions and that getting hold of precise emission data is challenging. Bulk Fiber Networks will continue to challenge the value chain on scope 3, and sustainability is part of our tendering processes when seeking suppliers to new projects.

  1. What is next for Bulk Fiber Networks?

The strong growth in data processing and storage drives the demand for new investments in underlying fiber infrastructure, including both subsea and terrestrial systems. Bulk is well positioned as a leading provider of large capacity transport fiber, both going into the Nordics and within the Nordics. In addition to our Leif Erikson project, we continue to explore opportunities for new fiber network developments being strategic enablers for the Nordic data center market.

About the Author

Inger Gloersen Folkeson joined Bulk as the EVP Fiber Networks and COO for Bulk infrastructure Group in August 2021.

Previously, Folkeson was the Chief Financial Officer at Digi Telecommunications where she led finance operations and guided strategy, business development, performance management and efficiency initiatives for the Malaysian mobile connectivity and internet services provider. Prior to joining Digi, Inger held a series of senior leadership positions at Telenor ASA, the international tele, data and media communication service provider.

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