Satellite communication for Dutch Polar scientific community

14 August 2018

Dutch polar researchers will get access to free satellite communication. The Dutch company Hiber has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Netherlands Polar Programme, carried out by NWO. By this agreement Hiber offers Dutch researchers free satellite connectivity in the North and South Pole regions for scientific research purposes.


Hiber has agreed to donate satellite connectivity for a period of five years (2019-2024) to polar scientists at Dutch research institutions. Hiber has received support by the government of the Netherlands from its early start and is committed in turn to support the Dutch scientific polar community. The agreement follows NWO policy to widely offer technical infrastructure to scientists and so in the end will contribute to the protection of the fragile polar environment.

Hiber is the first alternative for polar satellite communication that operates with very small antenna, low power and significantly lower costs than current services. The offered free access to Hiber satellite communication will allow Dutch scientists to frequently receive data from remote regions throughout the year, eventually offering near-continuous connection. This new communication service will greatly reduce the costs for data communication for polar research projects. Researchers can obtain access to Hiber satellite communication by connecting their scientific equipment to a certified Hiberband modem & antenna.

For over 30 years NWO operates a programme for polar research: the Netherlands Polar Programme. This research programme contributes solutions for fundamental scientific and socio-political issues, related to changes in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, such as the environmental consequences of climate change and challenges to expected sea-level rise in coastal regions in The Netherlands. The Netherlands Polar Program will launch a new call for proposals for Dutch polar policy-relevant research in 2018 with a total value of 4-5 Million euro.

The MoU is signed by Mr Dick van der Kroef from the Netherlands Polar Programme and Ernst-Peter Hovinga, CEO of Hiber. Dick van der Kroef: ‘We are pleased to be one of the first national polar programmes to receive and demonstrate Hiber sensor connectivity in the polar regions. Connectivity in the Arctic and Antarctic region has always been a costly hurdle for our scientific research.’

Ernst-Peter Hovinga, CEO of Hiber, adds: ‘Due to the fact that our satellites will follow a sun synchronous polar orbit we will very frequently visit the polar regions. Currently there is only an American and French satellite constellation available for sensor connectivity in the polar regions. Our new satellite communication technology will greatly enhance the connectivity of the polar regions at significant lower costs than was previously possible.

Source: NWO