The Cascadia Gateway: Largest Ever Fiber Optic Connection between Seattle & Vancouver beginsin March

In an announcement on January 21st, Cascadia Gateway with their affiliate Cascadia Fibernet will begin construction on a new 864 strand fiber, carrier neutral network between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. The $180 million dollar ready for service project will be operational within a year, by the end of April 2020.

The fiber optic network is part of the construction of the Cascadia Gateway, to be centered in Vancouver harbor and built in co-operation of the city of Surrey and surrounding universities. When completed, the Cascadia Gateway will be the largest data center on the West Coast of the United States and Canada, and be the largest fiber optic network ever established between the two cities, aside from the largest single fiber optic network to be built in Cascadia in the past 20 years.

The organization building the project – Cascadia Gate Way argues that:

Yet although only 120 miles separate the two cities, data shows that their level of connectedness is more akin to cities that are 2,000 miles apart. Of the handful of companies that operate in both cities, most have a large presence in one and only a satellite footprint in the other. And local universities collaborate far more with distant domestic institutions than with each other; University of Washington researchers work more closely with their peers at 49 other universities than with those at neighboring University of British Columbia. 

The project is part of the Cascadia Gateway Initiative, set out as part of the emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor – and is one 8 initial goals set out by the premier of British Columbia and the Washington State governor spanning the Cascadia bioregion. . 

Cascadia Gateway Sub-Sea Network

In addition to connecting Seattle and Vancouver BC, the project will also connect with an undersea fiber optic cable network connecting Cascadia with Asia and other Pacific countries that will ultimately stretch as part of a network for more than 16,000 kilometers. While the initial plan for this connection had originally been to route through the United States at Los Angeles, companies shifted the route given the current uncertain political climate in the United States. The project design consultants, David Ross Group, instead recommended the current location of the SEAX-2 cable be routed off-shore between Vancouver and Seattle. The connection will provide a protected network between Vancouver, Seattle, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia as well as the Singapore Cable Exchange which connects to every major Telecom Carrier and Country on the Pacific Rim.

By making the shift, the cable would then connect to both ends of the new high density, ultra low latency Cascadia Innovation Corridor, and Cascadia Gateway Fiber Network. It is the intent and goal of VariNet in cooperation with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, to build the Cascadia Gateway Landing Station (CGLS-1) in Vancouvers Harbour.

Building with Net Zero Carbon Impact in Mind

Aside from working to mitigate energy use impacts, and generate electricity from green renewables, as part of the construction, the Cascadia Data Centre has parntered with local universities for creation of a 85,000 square foot learning greenhouse that will capture and re-use warm air generated by the data center itself. Partnered with Simon Fraser University in conjunction with BW-Global (a leader in advanced Greenhouse technology) the warm air would be used to create pure water & power irrigiation systems. The Greenhouse would use the waste energy.

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