Two new satellites will give internet to the Arctic. Illustration by Space Norway

Norway aims for boost in Arctic communications

The Nordic country cooperates with the U.S and other allies over the development of a new broadband communication network in the region.
June 24, 2019

«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 year 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.

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«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.

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