Norway may set up Arctic internet

arcticLast week, two Norwegian organisations stated they had joined forces to explore the feasibility of establishing broadband internet cover in the Arctic. The Norwegian Space Centre revealed that it was collaborating with Telenor Satellite Broadcasting in establishing broadband’s final frontier.

Bo Andersen, a director at the space centre said that initial investigations had indicated the cost of setting up the broadband would be between NOK2 billion and NOK4 billion. He continued by saying that if they could get the funds to go ahead with the project, it would probably be up and running in the early years of the next decade.

The Arctic is one of the last places left on the planet without broadband internet coverage. Mr Andersen said geostationary satellites are near the equator and their signals are not strong once they hit 75° north. He finished off by saying the only viable option was to establish a new network.

Although there is not much demand for internet access in the Arctic at present, this is expected to change in the near future. Global warming and melting ice last year saw the Arctic Sea with its lowest masses of ice since records began.

Warmer seas and the lack of ice has in turn encouraged fishing boats, shipping companies and oil multinationals to expand their operations northwards into the Arctic. Commenting on the possible internet expansion, Statoil spokesperson Ola Anders Skauby said it would be a boon to oil explorations.