Getting broadband in the Arctic

May 30, 2013

Is it really possible to get broadband coverage in the Arctic? "Yes, indeed!", say Telenor, the Norwegian Space Centre and the SINTEF company MARINTEK, who are currently looking into how they can make it happen.

A meeting was held recently, attended by representatives from these companies' R&D centres and a number of potential users of an broadband system, in order to mark the start of a project which has been given the name "ASK" (a Norwegian abbreviation of Arctic Satellite Communications).

Recommended by government

The project's aims are in line with the Norwegian government's recommendations linked to its Arctic Policy Strategy. Effective broadband coverage is vital to all activities currently being planned for the Arctic region. Activities such as oil and gas production, search and rescue operations, as well as communications for the ever-increasing shipping traffic in the area, are dependent on an effectively functioning capable of transmitting relatively large volumes of data.

"The systems we operate with today work relatively well in latitudes up to 75 degrees North", says Beate Kvamstad, Project Manager and researcher at MARINTEK. "Further north, we lack systems which are both stable and which can handle large volumes of data", she says. Kvamstad is responsible for the user requirement analysis which forms the basis of this technological development. She highlights the many motivating factors behind efforts to establish a broadband network in the Arctic.

These include the increasing number of reporting requirements linked to the fisheries industry; the monitoring of loads using sensors and video; state-of-the-art environmental monitoring; an increasing need to maintain an overview of advanced offshore operations; telemedicine; and the increased use of remote control systems for activities such as towing operations from the mainland.

After the user requirement analysis there will be a system specification development phase, followed by a tender process with the aim of obtaining prices and other information from potential suppliers. This will form the foundation for a business plan which will tell us something about the feasibility of the project. The work of sorting through the various technology options is already underway.

All pulling together

However, this project will require a sound funding strategy. Current cost estimates are between 2 and 3 billion Norwegian kroner. Lunde emphasizes that these estimates have been arrived at on the basis of cautious calculations, assuming development of a pure broadband network.

"In making these estimates, we have employed cautious and focused requirements and have removed the most cost-intensive special functions" says Lunde, who further emphasizes that the need for a broadband network in the Arctic is based on the demands of both private and public sector organisations.

"This is why we believe it is necessary that a wide range of organisations contribute towards funding the project. We must all pull together", she says. She adds that Telenor Satellite Broadcasting will be launching a completely new satellite, called THOR 7, in the summer of 2014.

This will be Telenor's first satellite with a payload entirely dedicated to maritime activities. Experience from this project will be of major significance to the development of the new Arctic broadband network.

Explore further: Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dish asks FCC to let it build wireless network

Aug 23, 2011

(AP) -- Satellite TV broadcaster Dish Network is asking regulators to let it build a wireless broadband network. Having one would let Dish compete more effectively with cable companies that can bundle broadband and TV signals.

A radical re-invention for the Internet

Apr 24, 2013

Remember the days when downloading one song could take 30 minutes and over 28 hours to download a movie? This, of course, was before the introduction of broadband which revolutionised Internet use. Now, broadband ...

Telecom gets nod for New Zealand broadband

May 24, 2011

New Zealand's largest telecoms company Telecom Corp. won a contract Tuesday to build most of the government's NZ$3.0 billion ($2.4 billion) ultra-fast broadband network, officials said.

Recommended for you

Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

Jul 21, 2014

Verizon Wireless is launching a nationwide loyalty program this week for its 100-million-plus subscribers. There's a twist, though: To earn points for every dollar spent, subscribers must consent to have their movements tracked ...

Verizon boosts FiOS uploads to match downloads

Jul 21, 2014

Verizon is boosting the upload speeds of nearly all its FiOS connections to match the download speeds, vastly shortening the time it takes for subscribers to send videos and back up their files online.

The goTenna device pitch is No Service, No Problem

Jul 18, 2014

In the new age of Internet-based crowdfunding with special price offers, where startup teams try to push their product closer and closer to the gate of entry, goTenna's campaign offers a most attractive pitch. ...

Maths can make the internet 5-10 times faster

Jul 17, 2014

Mathematical equations can make Internet communication via computer, mobile phone or satellite many times faster and more secure than today. Results with software developed by researchers from Aalborg University ...

User comments : 0