Plans for New Fiber Cable to Svalbard and Jan Mayen

The Svalbard-Norway fibreoptic cable at its marine entry point at Hotellneset, northwest of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The cable is owned by Space Norway, and operated by Telenor. It serves Svalbard with broadband. (Photo: Bjoertvedt - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Space Norway is building a new subsea fiber cable to Svalbard. At the same time, the Armed Forces wants to build fiber cable to Jan Mayen. The price tag is between NOK 1 and 2 billion. 

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A new fiber cable from mainland Norway to Svalbard must be in place by 2028. The current cable will then have reached the end of its life span of 25 years.

State-owned Space Norway is responsible for getting a new cable in place. The CEO of Strategic Sea Fiber, Rune Jensen, says to that they are now working to get the project processed in the Norwegian parliament this year.

Connects Jan Mayen

"We are still in the planning stage, and the project must be cleared by the parliament. We are working to have that happen in June 2024. The aim is to build the fiber cables in the summer of 2027," says Jensen to the online newspaper.

In addition, the Armed Forces wants fiber to Jan Mayen and has asked Space Norway to plan a high-speed cable there. There are currently no fiber cables connecting Jan Mayen.

A new subsea fiber cable will be built with Bodø as its starting point.

Today, there are two fiber cables between the mainland and Svalbard. They provide internet and other communication to the archipelago and stretches from Longyearbyen to Harstad, 1400 kilometers.

Built from Bodø

In January 2022, one of these cables were damaged. The cable was broken and destroyed by external forces, but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.

The plans state that a new subsea fiber cable will be built with Bodø as its starting point. It will stretch 600 kilometers out into the ocean, where the cable is planned to be split. One cable will continue 500 kilometers to Jan Mayen, while the other will continue 1,200 kilometers to Svalbard.

Space Norway AS (SPN) owns and is responsible for Svalbard's socially critical fiber connection. When the cables were established in 2004, the agreement was signed by Space Norway, Kongsberg Satellite Services, Uninett, Telenor Svalbard, and Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani.

The companies then received warranty responsibility for the cable in case of any faults or breakages.

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