Networks

The Ministry aims

  • to ensure that people and businesses have access to well-functioning, safe and secure transport and communications networks;
  • to safeguard the efficient operation of transport and communications networks also in extreme situations.

Key duties of the Ministry

The Ministry is responsible for the operation of transport and communications networks and routes and online markets.

It is also responsible for the guidance and supervision of the use of the networks, spectrum policy and operating licences. Environmental and energy issues in transport and communications fall within the purview of the Ministry.

Well-functioning transport and communications networks throughout Finland

It is the Ministry's duty to ensure that Finland has reliable, safe and secure transport and communications networks and enough capacity to meet the needs of welfare and growth in society.

The objective is to use the latest technology and skills to construct and maintain transport and communications networks, which must be cost and energy-efficient and take environmental aspects into consideration.

In the function of networks, various extreme situations must also be considered that may be caused by the climate change, for example.

Network construction is guided by the agencies

The Finnish Transport Agency, which operates under the Ministry's guidance, is responsible for road, railway and waterway construction and maintenance. The Transport Agency outsources the work to businesses through competitive tendering.

In Finland, communications networks are mainly built up on market terms. The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority monitors their construction and ensures that they work efficiently and without any disturbances.

1. Communications networks (radio spectrum)

Radio spectrum is a natural resource that does not get used up even though more bytes travel through it. For example, mobile communication, wireless broadband, satellite communication, television broadcasting in antenna networks and radio broadcasting all need frequencies in order to be able to provide communication services.

The use of radio spectrum and frequencies is regulated. The frequency area covered by international and national regulations is between 9 kHz and 3,000 GHz. However, financial and technological reasons limit the use of radio spectrum up until 80 GHz. It is estimated that more than 99 per cent of all radio equipment work in frequencies under 10 GHz.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is responsible for the operation of transport and communications markets and critical communications networks. Guidance in the use of spectrum is provided by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.

2. Transport networks

Legislation on transport infrastructure is drafted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. It provides the basic rules for infrastructure planning, construction, maintenance and life cycle.

Finland's road network encompasses highways, city road networks and private roads. It is around 454,000 km in length, of which private roads and forest truck roads amount to around 350,000 km and the municipal road networks to 26,000 km.

The total length of public roads in Finland is some 78,000 kilometres. Responsibility for the maintenance and development of public roads lies with the Transport Agency and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.  

Municipalities and cities are responsible for their respective street networks and for keeping them in good condition. The maintenance and improvement of private roads is generally the responsibility of private road maintenance associations, landowners and various types of communities or companies.

The length of the Finnish operational rail network is little less than 6,000 kilometres, about 3,300 km of which is electrified. Its maintenance and development is on the responsibility of the Transport Agency.

The length of waterways maintained by the Agency is around 16,300 km, of which merchant shipping routes amount to nearly 4,000 km. Coastal routes measure up to little less than 8,300 km and inland waterway routes to 8,000 km. Most of Finland's ports are owned by municipalities.

3. Energy and the environment

The most central challenges in environmental policy in the transport sector lie in mitigating climate change, improving the living environment, reducing the adverse health impacts of transport and protecting the Baltic Sea.

Road transport is a particular target area for environmental measures associated with transport, as in this respect, meeting the targets is mainly in our own hands. The objectives and measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in air and maritime transport are mainly outlined in international agreements.

A further objective is to make the Finnish ICT infrastructure more energy-efficient. Attention will be paid to energy consumption of server centres, for example.

In 2013, transport services accounted for 16.5 per cent of the final energy consumption in Finland and around 40 per cent of oil-based energy.

The aim in the Government Programme is to raise the share of renewable transport fuels to 40 per cent by 2030. Efforts are also made to increase the number of cars that use alternative power sources (hybrid, electricity, flexifuel, bio-gas).

Greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport in 2013 amounted to around one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions in Finland and to around 40 per cent of the emissions in the non-emission trading sector.