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Norway to establish high-speed internet in the Artic

Staff writer |
Norway plans to introduce high-speed internet connection where you wouldn't expect it: the Arctic. However, demand for internet connections will grow as shipping, fishing and oil companies move north.

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The Norwegian Space Center with Telenor Satellite Broadcasting will assess the feasibility of a new satellite system covering northern areas, now out of the reach of communications satellites. Space center director Bo Andersen told The Associated Press the system could be in place in the early 2020s if it gets fundings from private and public sources. The estimated cost is $330 million-$650 million.

Communications satellites are in orbit over the equator and they can provide coverage up to 75 degrees north, said Mr. Andersen. Above that latitude, the signals become too weak, and the only option is another satellite network that can only handle voice and limited data service.

"We see very clearly that there is an increasing need for broadband in the high Arctic," said Mr. Andersen.

Canada's space agency has been studying a similar system. Spokeswoman Melanie Beauchesne said the agency has completed feasibility studies but is still talking with potential public and private partners in Canada and abroad "to determine their level of interest and potential collaboration scenario to bring about the future realization of this mission."

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