The Finnish Government promotes the spread of broadband connections - a resolution on the national broadband strategy

The Finnish Government promotes the spread of broadband connections - a resolution on the national broadband strategy

Press release 30.01.2004 00.00 en

According to the national broadband strategy, the aim is that every Finn will have access to high-speed, easy-to-use and affordable data transfer connections by the end of 2005 - by then there would be one million broadband subscriptions in Finland. A target is that Finland will become a European leader in the availability and use of high-speed telecommunications.

On 29 January 2004, the Finnish Government adopted a resolution on the national broadband strategy. The strategy is an essential element of the Government's information society policy.

The spread of broadband connections will be promoted through numerous measures. Competition will be promoted within and between all communication networks. The measures will also speed up the introduction of new broadband technologies and increase the provision of network services and content. Information security and users' skills will be developed. The Government has a programme of fifty action points to implement the broadband strategy.

Ms Leena Luhtanen, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, stresses the significance of content in the development of broadband connections.
- Services and contents are essential and of primary importance. Without them broadband connections have no meaning, Luhtanen says.

The resolution on the national broadband strategy is based on a proposal submitted in December 2003 by a broad-based working group. The proposal attracted many comments and statements. Citizens were also provided an opportunity to give feedback through, for example, a discussion forum on the Internet. The proposal was regarded as comprehensive and thorough and its broad approach good.

Particular attention in the statements was paid to the role of public funding in the implementation of the strategy. The strategy is based on the fact that broadband connections will mainly be acquired on commercial terms. Central actors in regional development are local authorities. They will be provided with guidelines on the use of public funding. In accordance with the strategy, Regional Councils will draw up broadband strategies for their own areas. Public funding will also be continued and developed in regions where broadband provision would not otherwise be established.

Measures to promote the provision of broadband connections are technologically neutral. This received a positive response from most of those providing statements. There were differences of opinion about the development of the broadband infrastructure: should it be developed on the basis of the present communication networks or should an entirely new fibre optic network, whose transmission capacity is superior to that of others, be constructed with the help of public funding for the purposes of telecommunications. In accordance with the strategy, the Government will investigate the scope for promoting use of fibre optic cables in household data transfer connections but will not favour it over other technologies.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has appointed a broadband strategy monitoring group, which will report until the end of this governmental term.

In the beginning of 2004, there were 490,000 broadband connections in Finland.

For further information, please contact
Mr Harri Pursiainen, Director-General of Communications Department, tel. +358 9 160 28389, +358 500 787 742