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WSJ: Arctic town – World’s Fastest Web Access; More Polar Bears Than People.

It may be one of the coldest spots on earth but you can work REALLY FAST!  

WSJ:   High-speed broadband is a rare luxury for the 2,600 or so brave souls living here. In the land many consider the northernmost human dwelling in the world, inhabitants cope with inconvenience as a way of life.

Svein Nordahl spends hours luxuriating in a kingdom of iPads, PCs and a flight simulator connected to a 10-foot-long screen that lowers from the ceiling.Christina Zander/The Wall Street Journal

There are more polar bears than people, for instance, so residents are urged not to roam beyond village limits without a gun. And the ground is eternally frozen, making it more convenient to thaw a glass of snow in the microwave than it would be to try to install running water.

Planning for birth? Or death? The rule of thumb is to travel south in search of better care than what’s available at the local hospital.

“There’s no safety net,” Kåre Stensen, a Dane working at the local watering hole, the “Svalbar,” said while serving coffee and wiping down tables. “You’re on your own.” A quarter of the people living here leave every year, making room for a fresh batch of adventurers unlikely to linger very long.

One area where Svalbardians have it made, however, is online. While most of this high Arctic territory lacks high-speed Internet, Svalbard enjoys speeds estimated to be 10 to 20 times as fast as any in the rest of Norway.

That means the 64-year-old Mr. Nordahl spends hours luxuriating in a kingdom of iPads, PCs and a flight simulator connected to a 10-foot-long screen that lowers from the ceiling. His entire household being powered by diesel generator, his computers have 43 terabytes of capacity, or enough to store at least 60,000 full-length HD movies.

Mr. Nordahl lives in a 750-square-foot cabin built on the tip of a rock that juts out into a body of water known as Ice Fjord.

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