R&D aimed at the Arctic and the polar regions is an important field for SINTEF, and the wide range of communication challenges involved is one of our areas of special efforts. Good broadband coverage and good prognoses regarding services are critical factors for most of the activities that are being planned in the Arctic. A growing volume of shipping traffic, oil and gas production, research activities and increasing needs for stable and secure communications are all dependent on a highly functional network capable of transmitting relatively large amounts of data. Ever more comprehensive reporting requirements in the fishing industry, cargo monitoring, environmental safeguarding and telemedicine are other examples of data-intensive needs for communications that are expected to increase in the near future.
In 2013 SINTEF carried out a large-scale series of studies and interviews with involved parties, with the aim of identifying their needs. In associated projects SINTEF has installed advanced technical equipment on ships and shore facilities in order to map communications conditions in the Arctic. Among the conclusions of the ASK study is that broadband coverage in the north will provide more reliable information exchange and warning systems data access for all users, and that a stable communications platform is important for most operations in the far north.