SubtelForum reports that WFN Strategies has won a subcontract from ARINC for continued development of a terrestrial broadband network between McMurdo Station and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which sits, as its name suggests, directly on the geographical south pole. Specifically, the plans are for a broadband link following a recently developed 1600km overland traverse. They didn’t say so explicitly, but I think they mean the one pictured to the left here, which points to a wikipedia image.
They’re not saying just how they’re going to get there yet, but it sounds like a hybrid since both microwave path designs and the behavior of cable systems in moving ice are on the research menu. I find it difficult to imagine burying fiber in a moving ice sheet (can you imagine repairing the fiber cuts?), so I’m guessing that in the end it will all be microwave. They’d be sticking to the road to build each link along the way because, well, they do have to maintain it and who would trust a network tech with a helicopter? (Just kidding guys!) But what do i know? Perhaps microwave just won’t move enough bits or something…
A few years ago, I spent a post teasing Global Crossing for linking up Antarctica before working on more populated continents, though that was at Jubany base out on the Antarctic peninsula. But with scientific data collection now driving substantial amounts of data elsewhere, perhaps there is more to lighting up the frozen continent than I had thought. I would still love to get the story from a truck roll down there.
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