Telenor revealed it has activated a mobile network in Norway’s last unconnected settlement of Ny-Alesund, in a bid to improve safety for citizens and open up opportunities for enhanced research and environmental monitoring.

Ny-Alesund is located 1,111-kilometres away from the North Pole and is the world’s northernmost community, Telenor explained in a statement. It is also home to a research facility exploring environmental studies of the Arctic, with the site connected to global research institutions from more than ten countries. 

Telenor noted it delivered a mobile network in Ny-Alesund with government-owned infrastructure company Kings Bay and the Norwegian Polar Institute, the former of which operates all communications infrastructure in the area and was responsible for rolling out fibre and power supply. 

Coverage director at Telenor Bjorn Amundsen revealed its plan to connect Ny-Alesund with mobile connectivity first emerged in 2001 and noted the town has only received coverage now due to the general prohibition on use of all radio transmitters in certain frequency bands in the area, which includes Wi-Fi and bluetooth. Amundsen also pointed to the high costs associated in delivering mobile connectivity.

Now that mobile coverage has been established, Telenor has committed to ensuring that everyone arriving in Ny-Alesund receives a text message informing them to switch-off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on all equipment, ensuring sensitive measuring equipment deployed in the area is not exposed to radio interference.

Christian Skottun, head of Telenor Svalbard, added mobile coverage will open new opportunities and provide new services, including the company’s mobile banking product.