The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) has announced that it has paid the first tranche of state aid that will go towards the construction of superfast broadband infrastructure in sparsely-populated areas of the country. The regulator has confirmed that the first round of funding – totalling EUR334,824 (USD443,983) – has been handed to Suupohjan Seutuverkko Oy, a limited company owned by six Finnish local municipalities around the city of Kauhajoki. With the municipality of Karvia having paid an equal sum to that provided by FICORA, Suupohjan Seutuverkko will now roll out a fibre-optic network in the state, with the project planned in co-operation with the municipality of Karvia, the Regional Council of Satakunta and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The funding comes as part of the government’s ‘Broadband 2015’ initiative, which aims to ensure that 99% of the population are no further than two kilometres from a 100 Mbps fibre-optic or cable network broadband service by the end of 2015. Under the plans, those telcos rolling out new infrastructure will be required to cover at least 34% of the costs, with the remainder funded by the Finnish government (EUR66 million has been set aside for the 2009-15 period) and municipalities and the European Union’s Rural Development Fund (EUR24.6 million for 2009-15). Once completed, the new networks will be owned and operated by the companies that deployed them.