The Norwegian Space Centre has teamed up with Telenor Satellite Broadcasting to assess the feasibility of a new satellite system covering northern areas of the Arctic which lie outside the reach of current geostationary communications satellites. The Associated Press quotes space centre director Bo Andersen as saying that the system could be in place within the next decade if it receives the necessary funding from private and public sources. The estimated cost is NOK2 billion (USD329.9 million) to NOK4 billion. Demand for broadband access in the Arctic is expected to grow as shipping, fishing and oil companies move north amid warming temperatures and melting ice. Last year, summer sea ice cover in the Arctic fell to the lowest extent on record.
Under international law no country currently owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding Arctic countries, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland) and the United States (via Alaska), are limited to a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone around their coasts, and the area beyond that is administered by the International Seabed Authority.