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Norway to Boost High North Communications

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By The Maritime Executive 2019-06-26 00:01:44

The Norwegian Government has entered into an agreement with state-owned company Space Norway to boost satellite broadband communication for the High North.

Space Norway's two satellites will provide coverage 24 hours a day in the area north of latitude 65. The satellites will have an expected lifetime of 15 years and are scheduled to be launched in 2022, on one rocket into a Highly Elliptical Orbit. 

Poor coverage in the High North creates challenges for security and emergency preparedness tasks such as maritime traffic, oil spill response, defense and crisis management, and all vessels in the region are expected to have stable internet access as a result, says the Government. 

The Norwegian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense have signed a satellite cooperation agreement that will see the two nations share production capacity. Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen says the new satellite coverage will also be used by forces from other nations. Talks are underway with the U.K., Germany, France and Canada.

The Norwegian military's military payload is based on X-band, NATO's preferred frequency for military satellite communications.

The Government will contribute up to $101 million in equity to Space Norway which will obtain a bank loan for remaining external financing.