Norway mulls Arctic satellite broadband

Norway mulls Arctic satellite broadband
Svalbard in Norway's Arctic region. File photo: Jan-Morten Bjørnbakk/Scanpix
The increasing presence of oil companies in the Arctic region has Norwegian telecom companies pondering whether it is time to introduce a satellite-based solution to internet connection problems up north.

The Norwegian Space Centre and telecom giant Telenor have started a joint project looking into satellite solutions, as connectivity quality at present suffers north of the 72th parallel, while anyone trying to check their email north of the 79th parallel won't have any luck at all. 

Two new satellites could, however, put a stop to any troubles experienced by Arctic pen pals, or by harried oil platform workers trying to get a spreadsheet to their boss before lunch.

Beate Kvamstad at the Norwegian oil and gas industry research centre Sintef Marintek has put together figures showing the need for connectivity so far north as the number of people employed in the area increases. As in addition to oil and gas workers, crews aboard ships as well as employees in emergency services, fishing, travel, and environmental protection would benefit from better access to the internet.

The centre's analysis also pointed out that the number of people setting up shop across the region was set to grow as the Arctic ice melts further. 

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