Iceland's last digital-free frontier: Remote Nordic peninsula fights to preserve its dead zone

Mail Online | 9/6/2018 | Associated Press
baileyboo (Posted by) Level 3
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The passenger boat arrives at the bottom of Veidileysufjordur, a short inlet with a long name, to drop off backpackers for a multi-day trek.

A weather-beaten group that's completed the trip waits to board, eager to get back to a part of Iceland where they can reconnect with the world via Wi-Fi.

Boat - Half-hour - Roads - Nordic - Country

By boat, that will take about a half-hour. No roads lead to the Nordic country's northernmost peninsula, a rugged glacial horn that reaches for the Arctic Circle.

Making a phone call requires walking up a mountain for a cell signal so weak, clouds seem capable of blocking it.

Service - Hornstrandir - Nature - Reserve - Frontiers

But internet service soon could be reaching the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, one of the last digital-free frontiers in what might be the world's most-wired nation.

The possibility has most hikers, park rangers and summer residents worried that email, news and social media will destroy a way of life that depends on the absence of all three.

Appreciation - Lack - Connection - Environment - Agency

'We see a growing appreciation for the lack of online connection,' Environment Agency of Iceland ranger Vesteinn Runarsson, who patrols the peninsula's southern end on his own.

'Looking to the future, we want to keep Hornstrandir special in that way.'

Area - Cell - Towers - Initiatives - Decision

The area has long resisted cell towers, but commercial initiatives could take the decision out of Icelanders' hands and push Hornstrandir across the digital divide.

Companies such as Elon Musk's SpaceX are racing to deliver high-speed internet service to every inch of the world by putting thousands of small satellites into low Earth orbit.

Success - Implications - Benefits - Downsides - Communication

Their success would have global implications, bringing the benefits and downsides of internet communication to places that are off the grid because of poverty or war, or where internet access is reserved for the wealthy.

That's also true for sparsely populated communities and far-flung destinations in Canada, Russia, Alaska and elsewhere in the vast Arctic region,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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