The development of the Broadband 2015 project 2014

The availability of fast broadband improved significantly last year. A fixed broadband connection of at least 30 Mbps is available to 81 per cent of households and a high-speed broadband connection using fibre-optic technology to nearly half of Finnish households.

The objective of the Digital Agenda of the European Commission is that all Europeans have access to a 30 Mbps broadband connection by 2020 , while the Finnish Government set a goal in 2008 of making a 100 Mbps broadband connection available to nearly all Finns by the end of 2015.

During 2014, more and more households were within the availability of a fast broad-band. At the end of 2014, around 81 per cent of all Finnish households were able to obtain a fixed-line broadband connection with a minimum speed of 30 Mbps. This was around 2 per cent more than in 2013. In 2014, the availability of the fibre-optic network increased by 4 per cent from the year before. As a result, 53 per cent of all households were able to acquire a fibre-optic broadband subscription at the end of the year.

According to information collected by FICORA from telecommunications opera-tors, the expanded availability of the fixed-line broadband network is largely explained by the construction of the new fibre-optic network. Driven by the market, telecommunications operators are mainly building the fibre-optic network in towns and urban areas. In sparsely populated areas, the state subsidy granted through the Broadband 2015 project has had a positive impact on the construction of the fibre-optic network.

Within the scope of the project, 6,000 km of fibre-optic network was built in 2014, increasing its length to 14,000 km. By the end of 2014, a total of 20,000 broadband subscriptions had been sold within these new networks. Most of these were high-speed subscriptions of 100 Mbps.

The budget of the Broadband 2015 project was increased to EUR 69.5 million at the beginning of 2015 after the Parliament granted additional funds. At the beginning of 2015, regional councils announced their intention to launch broadband projects in 80 new areas. If all of these projects are put into practice, more than 50,000 new households will have access to a high-speed broadband connection. The new project areas are highlighted on the map in light green.

Figure: Construction phases of broadband projects in December 2014.

By the end of 2014, subsidies granted through the Broadband 2015 project totalled EUR 46 million between 18 different recipients. Completed projects accounted for EUR 20 million. Reviewed by province, the highest subsidies have been granted to Lapland, Kainuu and Northern Ostrobothnia. In 2014, Northern Ostrobothnia had the best high-speed broadband network availability in the whole of Finland, with more than 80 per cent of permanent residences having access to a high-speed fixed-line broadband connection.

Furthermore, the availability of fast mobile broadband subscriptions offered through the mobile network is showing a clear in-crease. In 2014, up to 95 per cent of all households had access to a mobile broad-band connection of 30 Mbps or higher, showing a growth of 12 per cent from the year before.

Availability also covers cases where the acquisition of a fixed-line broadband con-nection requires that a short local loop is built, such as a drop cable drawn from the plot boundary to the building. The availability of a fast mobile broadband connection may require the use of an additional external fixed antenna.

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 2014 (1/2015).

Key words: Internet, Availability, Broadband, Mobile broadband, Articles, Reviews, Statistics

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