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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Monday, February 02, 2004


Remote Arctic island of Svalbard gets undersea fiber link to Norway and broadband access for local residents

"On Saturday, January 31, Norway's Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Ansgar Gabrielsen conducted the official opening of the optical-fibre cable that connects Svalbard to the rest of the digital world. Simultaneously, Telenor Svalbard opened the world's northernmost broadband access, at 78 degrees North, serving the citizens and businesses of Longyearbyen."

Svalbard's broadband access is supplied in partnership with Norwegian Space Centre, which has been Telenor's partner in the rollout of two 1400-kilometre optical-fibre cables between Longyearbyen and Harstad. The two submarine cables, which are equipped with "infinite" capacity, will replace today's satellite-based mainland connection. As the fixed network connection was routed through the fibre-cable on Wednesday January 28, citizens of Longyearbyen were able to make their phone calls without any time delays or "one-way speech", which up till then had been the case via the satellite connection. The mobile phone connection was established one day later, allowing for GPRS making services like multi media messaging (MMS) available also at Svalbard."

"The services offered are identical with Telenor's broadband services on the mainland, with Online ADSL serving residential customers, and ADSL Bedrift and SHDSL Bedrift serving the business market. A number of other services, such as home office solutions, wireless zones and domain names for companies with e-mail addresses have also been introduced."

So, if Telenor is doing all this for 1750 people 900 miles off the coast of Norway, when is BellSouth going to upgrade their phone lines around Rome, Georgia so that they can offer DSL to homes on my street?


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