At its informal night session on September 17, the Government discussed a proposal by Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén for a national action plan to make high-speed broadband accessible throughout the country.
The proposal is based on a broadband study carried out by Permanent Secretary Harri Pursiainen. The Government will make a decision in principle on achieving these goals.
At the informal night session the Government outlined a plan to make high-speed broadband connections available by the end of 2015 to nearly all permanent residences and premises of private enterprises and public administration throughout the country, according to demand.
The speed of the connections would be at least 100 Megabits per second. The distance from the subscriber to the nearest optical fibre or cable network should be at most two kilometres.
basic speed of 1 Mbps
Minister of Communications Lindén considers that the realisation of the objectives proposed to the Government will mean a historic leap in the evolution of the information society. The aim of the Government’s policy outline is to ensure that the telecommunications network meets society’s needs, now and in the future.
“Citizens and businesses need increasingly effective data transfer. This is necessary, among other things, for teleworking, business, e-commerce, and access to social and health services,” Lindén states.
Television broadcasting also faces a turning point in the next few years, as channels become more diverse and high-definition transmission enters the picture. Here, high-speed broadband is an essential factor,” Lindén stresses.
On the basis of Lindén’s proposal, the targeted speed will be reached step by step. The intermediate target is to raise the broadband speed of the general service to an average of one Mbps. A legislative proposal on the matter will be presented to Parliament this year.
The realisation of the intermediate target and the target for 2015 will be monitored annually. In the year 2012 a plan of action will be drafted to prepare for the situation after the year 2015.
Public funding for
According to Pursiainen’s study, it will not be possible to offer telecommunications networks on a regionally equal basis through commercial means.
“No-one can be left outside the day-to-day functioning of the information society. As the telecommunications network needed cannot be provided on market terms in all respects, its construction must be supported by public funds,” Lindén confirms.
The report proposes that the state, regions and municipalities share in the costs of improving the telecommunications network in those areas where the target level for 2015 cannot be reached by commercial means. The purpose is for the Regional Councils to organise competitive bidding among the telecommunications operators.
As the state’s share of funding the rapporteur proposes that certain radio frequencies should be auctioned off. If the auction proceeds are not sufficient for building the state telecommunications infrastructure, the rest would be made up by charging the telecommunications operators a compensatory payment. The fixed-term charge would be based on the number of the telecommunications operators’ broadband connections.
The Government will take a stand on funding questions later when preparing the decision in principle.
Government aid would apply to the building of networks. The user will still procure and pay the costs of their subscriber connection in the future, and also decide on the speed and technology they want for the connection. To promote equality among citizens, a domestic help credit will be extended to citizens in 2009. It can be used for installing information and telecommunications technology.
For further information, please contact
Special Adviser Aleksi Randell, tel. +358 (0)9 160 28324 or +358 (0)400 500 822
Rapporteur, Permanent Secretary Harri Pursiainen, tel. +358 (0)9 160 28389 or +358 (0)500 787 742