Find some of the world's fastest Internet in a place with more polar bears than people

Summary:If you want rapid Internet access, try close to the North Pole.


Telecommunication firms worldwide are improving infrastructure and boosting spectrum resources to expand broadband networks and cope with increasing subscriber numbers. While you may think that the best speeds will be in cities rather than remote areas -- due to population concentration and better company profit margins -- you'd be wrong: some of the quickest broadband in the world is close to the North Pole.

In the icy archipelago of Svalbard, Norway, 2,6000 people live within an isolated community, Bjørndalen, where there are more polar bears present than humans.

One resident, Svein Nordahl, has no access to running water -- but his home is equipped with some of the best Internet available in the world. There is "no safety net" living in Svalbard, Nordahl says, and residents are encouraged to travel south for healthcare -- and not to travel outside of the village without a gun.

However, residents also enjoy broadband speeds estimated to be 10 - 20 times higher than the rest of Norway.

State-owned Telenor had plans to bring high-speed fiber Internet access to a town located five miles away, Longyearbyen. Due to the distance, Bjørndalen was left out in the cold. But due to Nordahl's persistence, a petition, and residents dragging cables themselves, the isolated community now enjoys stable and rapid connections.

It might be cold and there may be polar bears roaming around, but there's never any trouble in downloading movies.

Read on: Wall Street Journal

Image credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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