Anticipating the growing need for high-speed Internet in the Arctic for ships and oil companies, Norway is investigating a way to provide the service to the remote area at the top of the world.
The Associated Press reported that the Norwegian Space Center is working with Telenor Satellite Broadcasting
to examine the feasibility of a new satellite system that would cover northern areas currently outside the reach of geostationary communications satellites.
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Bo Andersen of the Norwegian Space Center told the AP on Thursday that such a system to service the Arctic could be ready by the early 2020s. Andersen said one delay could be funding. He said it could cost between $330 million to $650 million to get the Internet up and running there.
"We see very clearly that there is an increasing need for broadband in the high Arctic," Andersen said.
Stotoil, a Norwegian energy company with plans to work in the Arctic region as the melting of ice makes more of the region accessable to exploration, said high-speed internet would be valuable, noted The Associated Press.
Stotoil spokesman Ola Anders said "new satellite solutions would be beneficial" for communication.
"Our plans for the Arctic depend on a number of issues: safe operations, logistics, weather conditions and more," Anders told the AP. "Broadband coverage is part of this picture and for operations in some regions further north than where current operations are taking place development of new solutions for high-capacity broadband ... will be needed."
The Associated Press said the Canadian Space Agency, founded in 1989, has been considering a similar Internet system to cover the Arctic.
Spokeswoman Melanie Beauchesne told The Associated Press that the agency was still discussing the possibility with partners. She said the CSA was trying "to determine their level of interest and potential collaboration scenario to bring about the future realization of this mission."
Beauchesne told the AP that the agency, though, had completed feasibility studies on providing Internet service to the Arctic.
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