Norway will spend an additional 43 million crowns ($4.3 million) to acquire new technology that will allow it to detect threats to submarine fiber optic cables and investigate critical sections of the cable.
Equipment will also be procured that can detect obstacles to satellite services such as GPS on the Norwegian continental shelf, the Norwegian government said.
Norway raised its alert levels after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and improved security around its North Sea oil and gas infrastructure following the September explosions on the Nord Stream pipeline system in the Baltic Sea. The restriction of Russian fuel exports has made Norway the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe.
Undersea fiber optic cables are an important part of the digital infrastructure for offshore oil and gas installations, and the new measures will improve telecommunications services and help prevent and eliminate possible threats, the Norwegian government said.
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On September 26, explosions were heard in the Baltic Sea, after which leaks were discovered on two underwater gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany. The European Union and NATO called the explosions a “deliberate act” of sabotage, while Poland and Ukraine blamed Russia for it.
In October, several more damage to underwater infrastructure in Europe was recorded. In the UK, cable damage has affected households and businesses on the islands of about 23,000 people. The rupture left Shetland isolated from the rest of the world – at a time when technicians were still working to repair another cable linking the Faroe Islands to Shetland (which had been cut a week earlier). Breakdowns in the UK sparked rumors that unknown Russian saboteurs might be involved in the cutting lines.
On October 19, at least three fiber optic cables were cut in the south of France, slowing down Internet access for users in Europe, Asia and the US. Cloud companies quickly repaired the backbone. Russian saboteurs on the submarines were also suspected of sabotage, but investigators have not yet found any evidence of their involvement in the damage.