Two new satellites to boost Norway’s Arctic internet

“Fast, stable internet is important to anyone operating in the High North, whether in shipping, defence, fisheries or research,” said Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen as the Norwegian government last week confirmed its willingness to contribute with about 1 billion Norwegian kroner (105 million) to a new major Arctic communications project.

Space Norway AS has been working to establish satellite-based broadband communications capacity in the High North since 2015. Space Norways 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 projects commercial profitability. In addition, the customers must bear market risk by securing project income across the lifespan of the satellites.

“Space Norway ASs project represents an exciting opportunity to meet societys needs for broadband communications at low cost to the state. A solid communications system will also facilitate increased value creation in the High North,” says Røe Isaksen.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide added: “The High North is Norways most important strategic area of ​​responsibility. It is quite natural that we take a leading role in establishing better communications in the region.”

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.

“Space Norways project is important to the Norwegian Armed Forces, and can also serve the needs of our allies,” says Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen.

2018-03-28 ||