Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor has outlined its achievements on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, which is situated midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The company invited journalists to Svalbard to witness the network enhancements that have recently taken place, with Telenor chief technology officer Frode Stodal describing the area as a test-bed for Telenor. According to the Wall Street Journal, Stodal likened it to a ‘miniature version of mainland Norway’, noting: ‘We quickly get feedback on what works and what doesn’t.’ Interestingly, he observed that Svalbard is now ‘at least ten years ahead’ of mainland Norway in terms of technological advancement, thanks to the deployment of both 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services in administrative centre, and nominal capital, Longyearbyen.
In June 2011 Telenor launched an LTE base station in Longyearbyen, which it claimed represented the northernmost 4G network in the world at that time. Residential customers got fibre in 2010 and the island’s 100 businesses were connected in 2013. Since 2009, Telenor Norway has invested NOK12.1 million (USD2.0 million) in the works.