Broadband for All 2015 project gathers steam
The Finnish Government has reviewed the decision in principle for the Broadband for All 2015 project. The new decision in principle is intended to accelerate the completion of broadband projects in sparsely populated regions currently under way. In 2008, in accordance with the Government programme, the Government made a decision in principle, which stated that 100 Mbit/s Internet connections would be made available no more than two kilometres away from permanent residences and the premises of private enterprises and public administration throughout the country, according to demand. Broadband for All 2015 is one of the projects launched to implement the decision in principle.
Two mid-term reviews were conducted on the broadband project. On the basis of the second review conducted in 2013, the Government decided to accelerate project progress by examining certain principles.
The Government decided to review the decision in principle concerning the Broadband for All 2015 project and related measures on 13 November2014.
Project funding audits
The aim of the Government is to extend the construction time for projects previously supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) until the end of the 2015 construction term as well as to extend the payment period for granted aid until the end of 2015.
In addition to this, the Government wants to guarantee sufficient resources for the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) to complete the project, as all aid decisions concerning broadband projects currently under way will be made by FICORA beginning in 2015. FICORA is also responsible for monitoring aid use for 10 years from the most recent payment.
The Government also wants to facilitate the installation of telecommunications cables next to publicly-funded traffic routes.
Changes to the decision in principle would incur a total of EUR 8.5 million in additional costs. These costs involve EUR 5.5 million in aid granting additional authority to broadband projects included in the State budget for 2015 and the administration of that aid as well as costs related to FICORA oversight.
Any supplementary aid for broadband projects will be proposed for review by the Government during the spring framework session in 2015.
Approximately half of the projects on schedule
The aim of the Broadband for All 2015 project is to put project aid toward the construction of high-speed Internet connections, also in sparsely populated regions. The aim is to provide coverage to the approximately 5% of the Finnish population that falls outside the area where market-based services are available.
The projects currently under way will cover over 40,000 permanent residences, which accounts for 33% of the set target. It is estimated that slightly less than half of the project target would be realised with the aid granted thus far and the prescribed schedule.
Ms Laura Vilkkonen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 (0)29 534 2391
Mr Kari Ojala, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 (0)29 534 2725