The Government has made a decision in principle outlining the development of basic levels of Internet service, in addition to high-speed Internet connections.
The Government is to keep the hundred megabit objective to be achieved by 2015, which was set during the election period. By 2015, high-speed 100 Mbit/s broadband connections will be available at no more than two kilometres from all permanent places of residence.
A programme of measures to promote market-based supply and demand for broadband connections till the end of 2012 has been drafted. The officially supported broadband project for rural areas will continue, but more flexible funding for the project is being sought.
The provincial grant quotas will be discontinued, so that the resources can be allocated according to real demand. Investment finance and necessary capital funding will be made available for small telecommunications companies such as co-operatives and new operators.
The Government also wants to promote cost-effective broadband construction. For this reason the Private Roads Act, Highways Act and Rail Tracks Act will be adjusted, so that cables can be placed within the infrastructure in the most economic manner possible overall.
In addition, the adoption of new, more affordable excavation methods is being promoted by updating local government instructions regarding the installation work.
The decision in principle also requires telecommunications companies to more actively offer and market one megabit universal service connections. In place of the universal service, companies often offer commercial broadband connections, which are not subject to the same quality criteria as the universal service. Connections marketed as faster may actually work more slowly from time to time than the universal service, which has a range for its data rates defined by law.
The speed for the universal broadband service will be kept for the time being at the current rate, but the possibility of bringing it up to ten megabits per second is to be studied. At present, the basic rate offered as part of the universal service is a speed of 1 Mbit/s.
The Government sees it as necessary to study higher speeds because by the end of the election period it is most probable that wireless connections of many tens of megabits will be commercially available in most parts of the country. This is possible, because adoption of the 800 MHz band range is currently being prepared.
In addition, the study will look at ways of best promoting broadband supply and demand for leisure homes. The study is expected to be completed by the end of March 2013.
Mr. Juha Parantainen, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 40 756 9601