Optical fibre-cable systems are designed to carry vast amounts of information across the world's oceans with extremely high-reliability. The capabilities of these systems have also been adapted to other purposes, including scientific observation, military applications, communications to remote locations and communications to offshore oil and gas platforms.
Yet, the Arctic and Antarctic are the two areas in the globe that are not yet served by fibre-optic cables. The high-cost and risk of placing cables in these areas has thus far prompted users to retain radio-based communications networks, usually consisting of a high-cost, narrow-bandwidth satellite link.
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