In a groundbreaking initiative, Telenor has unveiled the world’s southernmost commercial base station in Antarctica, marking a significant milestone in connectivity within the most challenging environments. The Norwegian Polar Institute’s research station, Troll, situated in Antarctica, now enjoys expanded connectivity, linking a vast area to the global network through mobile communication.
Operational since February, this base station stands out not only for its southernmost location but also for being operated from the world’s northernmost point at Ny Ålesund. Christian Skottun, Head of Telenor Svalbard, underscores the crucial collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute as the cornerstone for establishing mobile coverage in Antarctica. Telenor’s extensive experience in constructing and operating mobile networks in the Arctic, particularly in Svalbard, played a pivotal role in this endeavor.
Skottun states, “A fruitful dialogue with the Norwegian Polar Institute laid the groundwork for the possibilities presented by a base station in Antarctica. Mobile coverage is indispensable for both Arctic poles, offering research communities the ability to utilize mobile IoT for efficient data collection during fieldwork. Moreover, it opens up new avenues for research and environmental monitoring in the Antarctic oceanic area.”
The primary motivation behind this ambitious project is to provide essential mobile coverage to the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research hub, Troll, in Antarctica. Troll serves as a focal point for scientific exploration and environmental research, where reliable communication is vital for project success and the safety of researchers in the region.
The installation of this base station not only enhances technological development at Troll but also introduces a new dimension of safety by offering mobile coverage in the vicinity of the polar research station. Camilla Brekke, the Director of the Polar Institute, acknowledges, “Mobile coverage is a step forward for technological development at Troll. In addition, it provides new opportunities for research and monitoring in Queen Maud Land.”
In addition to collaborating with the Norwegian Polar Institute, Telenor Svalbard partners with Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), responsible for the communication service from the Troll station. KSAT owns and operates TrollSat, a crucial ground station for collecting data from climate and environmental monitoring satellites, co-located with the Troll research station. Rolf Skatteboe, CEO of KSAT, highlights the significance of full mobile coverage at Troll in facilitating communication with the outside world.
Birgitte Engebretsen, CEO of Telenor Norway, expresses pride in Telenor’s role in establishing mobile connectivity between the poles. Engebretsen emphasizes the societal mission of providing technology that simplifies research work, acknowledging the new possibilities for research that have emerged with the deployment of these technological solutions.