New satellites to boost communications in Arctic Norway

Space Norway will launch two satellites in 2022 to improve internet connections in the north. (4kodiak/Getty Images)
The Nordic country cooperates with the U.S and other allies over the development of a new broadband communication network in the region.

“There is bad and unstable broadband coverage in the High North,” the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen underlined as he on Friday announced the deal that is to help boost communications across the remote region.

The launch of two Norwegian-owned satellites developed by company Space Norway is to radically alter the situation. The launch is due in 2022 and internet connectivity north of the 65th Parallel will subsequently be available 24/7, the Norwegian Government informs.

Impact will be significant, representatives of Space Norway say. All kinds of vessels, including trawlers, tankers and cruise liners, will get stable access to internet wherever their location. Regional preparedness, search and rescue and crisis management will benefit.

Also the military is happy.

“This is tremendously important for the Armed Forces that have need for communications that meet operational requirements,” Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen says.

Norway is cooperating closely with the Americans in the project.

“The government has an ambition to strengthen communications capacities in the High North and has a long-term cooperation in the field with the USA,” Frank Bakke-Jensen underlines.

The two countries’ defense ministries have previously signed a satellite cooperation agreement.

Also other allied forces will be allowed to take use of the system, and there is close cooperation ongoing with countries like the UK, Germany, France and Canada.

“It can be applied by forces from nations with which Norway has concluded agreements, in peacetime, crisis and conflict,” the minister makes clear.

The Norwegian government has injected $101 million in Space Norway, a state-owned company.

The company was established in 2013 based on the former Norwegian Space Center. According to Space Norway, the new satellite system will facilitate efficient surveillance and enhance protection of sovereignty in the Arctic.

“With the melting of the polar ice, the shipping activities in these areas increase, [and] the significance of the system be even bigger than originally planned for,” the company says on its website.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Northwestel wants to improve broadband to small communities in northwestern Canada, CBC News

Finland: Major step towards a Europe-Asia Arctic cable link, Yle News

Norway: Two new satellites to boost Norway’s Arctic internet,  The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian military to get fast, secure internet through trans-Arctic cable, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Northern Sweden to host more Facebook servers, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s first wireless 5G network to be built in Anchorage, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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