There has been considerable reporting on the failure of a cable connecting mainland Norway to the island of Svalbard, which occurred on January 7. 

As some of the reporting has been off target, to say the least, Space Norway AS, the company owner, released the following statement clarifying the situation. 

Space Norway AS owns the fiber optic cable between Svalbard and mainland Norway. The cable is a key element of Norway’s infrastructure in the Arctic and provides broadband telecom services both to the civil society and the science and space activities at Svalbard.

The system is built as a fully redundant solution with two cables separated approximately 5-10 km on the seabed. The redundancy ensures continued operations if one of the two connections fails to function.

At 0410 CET on Friday January 7, 2022, one of the two connections experienced a failure. This failure does not in any way change the ability to communicate effectively with Svalbard in the same manner as before, but it represents a temporary lack of redundancy.

Space Norway and our partners are currently performing the necessary data collection and analysis to establish the best course of action to repair the damaged cable. The extent of the damage is not fully known at the present time, neither is the source of the damage. Investigation into this matter is ongoing.

Space Norway together with partners are actively pursuing the best and quickest way to permanently repair the damaged cable while upholding the full and secure functioning of the system itself. The repair activities are expected to start in February 2022, depending on the availability of cable vessel and the necessary weather conditions.