Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of May 10, 2016


Telenor hoping to provide 4G mobile for all of Svalbard
Providing 4G mobile broadband throughout Svalbard and surrounding sea areas is being proposed by Telenor Svalbard, whose officials suggest the upgrade is more about public safety than company profits. “I am concerned about readiness and that communications must work when you need it most,” said Guttorm Albrigt Hansen, administrative director of Telenor Svalbard, who formerly headed a crisis team for Telenor on the mainland tasked with providing communications even when all normal lines did not work. He said a series of strategically place transmission stations could provide signals in land areas and up to 80 kilometers out into sea areas. The company projects each installation would cost about 10 million kroner to install and a million kroner to maintain, but the only other option is satellite transmitters that would cost billions of kroner. Tone Hertzberg, a spokesperson for The Governor of Svalbard, said that while officials there are aware of the general proposal by Telenor, a specific plan has not been submitted and therefore it it is not appropriate to comment about the idea.

New UNIS director appointed
Harald Ellingsen, 62, has been named the new director at The University Centre in Svalbard, effective Oct. 1. He is a professor and head of the Department of Marine Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), where he has worked for the past 10 years. “It is very important to increase student numbers and establish studies that will allow mainland universities to send students up to a greater extent,” he said. “What is obvious is that my position at UNIS has become more important in light of the fact that mining is becoming less important.” The appointment is for a fixed four-year term.

Three top city administrators stepping down as of Sept. 1
Longyearbyen City Manager Lars Ole Saugnes, Technical Section Manager Marianne Aasen, and Youth and Culture Manager Unn Martinsen are departing Sept. 1. It may take a year to name permanent replacements.