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Two new satellites to boost Norway's Arctic internet

Staff Writer |
Broadband coverage in the High North is poor and unstable. The Government now wants Norwegian satellites to make broadband communications available in the Arctic.

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Space Norway has been working to establish satellite-based broadband communications capacity in the High North since 2015. Space Norway’s project is based on a system of two satellites providing coverage 24 hours a day in the area north of 65 degrees N latitude.

The expected lifespan of the satellites is 15 years. If all goes according to plan, the satellites will be launched in 2022.

For negotiations to proceed with customers, suppliers and banks, the company needs a promise that the Norwegian state will contribute, in its capacity as owner, about NOK 1 billion in equity capital if the company manages to negotiate good agreements.

The Government is therefore proposing a conditional pledge to Space Norway AS of about NOK 1 billion in equity capital to realise this project.

This means the state will contribute equity if Space Norway lands agreements ensuring, among other things, the project’s commercial profitability. In addition, the customers must bear market risk by securing project income across the lifespan of the satellites.

Poor coverage in the High North makes it harder for the authorities to carry out security and emergency services such as search and rescue at sea, oil spill protection and crisis management.

Not least, the Armed Forces requires stable and secure communications for operations in Norwegian waters.

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