Funding for Finland’s ‘Broadband 2015’ project to fall short?

4 Jul 2014

Finland is unlikely to be able to achieve its goal of extending broadband access to almost every rural household, the Helsinki Times reports, due to too little funding for the state’s ‘Broadband 2015’ project.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the state has set out its stall to have virtually all permanent addresses – equivalent to 99% of the population – within 2km of a fibre-optic or cable network which enables data connections at transfer speeds of up to 100Mbps by the end of 2015. With the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) having estimated that operators will construct superfast networks in most densely-populated areas due to demand, it suggested such rollouts are likely to cover 95% of the country. As such, in order to achieve its 99% target it pledged public financial support for the ‘Broadband 2015’ initiative in certain areas of the country. Under the government’s plans, those telcos rolling out new infrastructure in regions where funding is available are required to cover at least 34% of the costs, with the remainder funded by the state – which set aside EUR66 million (USD88 million) for the 2009-15 period – and municipalities and the European Union’s (EU’s) Rural Development Fund (EUR24.6 million for 2009-15).

Commenting on the shortfall in financing, the local news source cites Paivi Peltola-Ojala, a communications market specialist at the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) as saying: ‘Internet service providers have filed more applications for aid than we can afford to disburse.’ It is understood that the applications currently pending with FICORA are worth nearly EUR40 million, with the regulator said to have around EUR31 million at its disposal currently for the scheme.

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