Eutelsat OneWeb has launched Antarctic connectivity services for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The geostationary (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operator says it will provide LEO-powered connectivity to the Rothera Research Station, the BAS Antarctic logistics and operations center, via its OneWeb fleet.

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In a LinkedIn post, the company said it plans to deliver rates of up to 120mbps with increased reliability and low latency, claiming current Internet connectivity in Antarctica is limited to 5mbps at most.

Eutelsat OneWeb has developed a new system named TALARIA which includes a ground station in Chile with a user terminal 1,000 miles away at the Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island, to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The name TALARIA is derived from the Latin word used to describe the winged sandals of Mercury, the god of communication.

Eutelsat OneWeb partnered with the European Space Agency Sunrise Partnership Project, Comtech Telecommunications Corp., and Cobham Satcom for the development of the infrastructure.

Maurizio Vanotti, VP for commercial strategy and innovation at Eutelsat OneWeb, said: “With communications and Internet connectivity limited in Antarctica, this trial in the region is a testament to our commitment to facilitating global connectivity in the most un-connected regions in the world.”

Julius Rix, head of engineering at BAS, added: “Knowing we have such an increase in bandwidth is a game changer for our communications connectivity, allowing transfer of big data files and giving us the opportunity to do live broadcast interviews from one of the remotest places on Earth.”

The increased connectivity will also allow researchers to connect with family and friends during periods away from home.

The company says the remote connectivity system took 18 months to create from concept to delivery.

There are currently no subsea cables landing in Antarctica, so research stations must rely on satellite communications.

Connectivity in Antarctica has been boosted recently, with Chilean mobile operator Entel launching 5G in Antarctica last month on Jorge Island.

Earlier this year, Telenor installed a base station in Antarctica to provide essential mobile coverage to the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research station.

Starlink and Speedcast have also made recent efforts to provide better satellite connectivity in Antarctica.