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Broadband for All
The Broadband for All 2015 Project
The Finnish Government has decided that all permanent residences, business offices and permanent offices of public-sector organizations must be provided with high-speed internet connection. By the end of 2015 all permanent residences shall be within two kilometres reach of high-speed connection permitting at least 100 Mbit/s connections. The Finnish government funded The National Broadband for all 2015 Project with 66 million euros. The Broadband for all 2015 Project, set up in accordance with a government resolution, has been implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The national Broadband for all project aim was set particularly to provide rural and remote areas with fast and reliable Internet connections, which can be achieved only by optic fibre technology.
The high-speed Internet connection will give access to an effective and reliable data connection for business, high-quality remote work interface, e-government services, and a wide range of entertainment services. The population density in Kainuu is 3,9 inhabitants per square kilometre (in 2014), which is quite low compared to the average of Finland (17,5). Most of the region is classified as a sparsely populated countryside with the population density of only about one inhabitant per square kilometre. It is characteristic for the sparsely populated countryside in Kainuu region that the households lie quite scattered along the roads, by the water and on top of hills and there aren’t that many tightly built village centres. This is challenging for the point of view of infrastructure building.
The role of Regional Council of Kainuu was to coordinate and instruct the construction of the fibre network in the Kainuu region. This was partly done as a part of official duties of the organization, as well as through a separate communication project funded from the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland, “Eastern and Northern Finland with hundred megabytes”. The project was joined by four provinces: Kainuu, Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Northern Karelia. The main objective of the project was to promote achieving the high-speed 100 Mb/s connections in sparsely populated areas, promoting the usage and development of content of the information networks so that it would create sufficient demand for profitable implementation of high-speed telecommunication networks in the rural areas. For example briefings concerning the broadband technology, seminars and trainings were organized in the Kainuu region.
The progress of the broadband project in Kainuu
Six municipalities out of nine decided to participate in the Broadband for all 2015 Project: Puolanka, Sotkamo, Suomussalmi, Vaala, Hyrynsalmi and Ristijärvi. The length of fibre network line to be built, according to the regional plan, was set to 3740 km. A local and experienced company, Kaisanet Oy, was selected through competitive tendering as operator for six municipal projects.
By the end of summer 2015, about 1600 km of fibre network has been built. About 1000 customers/ households in the remote and sparsely populated countryside have been provided with broadband connections. Since 2011, government, municipalities and network operators have invested around 19 million Euros to fibre network projects in Kainuu region. The share of local municipal funding depends on the carrying capacity and population density, varying between 8%, 22% and 33% meaning that the maximum share of the government is up to 58%. Operator’s share of the funding is 34%.
For the rest of the municipalities, the political reasons to drop off from the project were mainly because of relatively high considered municipal co-financing percentage of the project, like in the case of municipalities Paltamo and Kajaani. Also the costs of building the subscriber line (the distance from backbone line max 2 km) has shown to be too expensive to customers. Municipality of Kuhmo ended up building the fiber network partly by its local cooperative. The local project is funded by The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland. The network to be built covers six village areas, almost a third of the Kuhmo municipality area. Remarkable network building activities have been done on market terms in Kajaani and Ristijärvi areas as well.
Building and extending the coverage of fibre network will continue until end of 2017 funded and supported by the national aid in Broadband Project 2015 but financial support will still be needed for providing citizens with high-speed internet connections after that. Fast and overwhelming digitalization in all sectors of society and businesses needs effective and reliable telecommunication infrastructure to work successfully. Actors and residents in the rural areas are part of this renewing society. EU- and national support are needed to promote development of e-services, to turn processes to electronic mode and to introduce different kinds of telecommunication equipment, solutions and applications.
The object in Kainuu is that in Kainuu region all permanent households, enterprises, business offices and permanent offices or public-sector organizations will have possibility to have just and fairly priced, reliable and effective connection by the year 2020.
Project co-operation between Finnish regions and regional councils has widened and a new project has been applied for promoting and introducing of all kinds of e-services.
Please contact us for further information:
Regional Development Specialist Paula Karppinen