The Estonian National Communications Board (ENCB) has launched a public tender for the construction of a broadband wireless service in the 450MHz band. The regulator says that the winner will construct a nationwide wireless broadband network offering end users data transfer rates of no less than 144kbps. The tender is technology neutral, but the ENCB has stressed that time is of the essence, saying it will prioritise bidders with a rapid rollout timetable. The winner will be announced by 1 December at the latest.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Estonia is enjoying a boom in internet and broadband usage, due to low prices and the country’s dynamic economy. By 31 December 2005 the number of broadband connections had reached an estimated 213,000, a penetration rate of 15%, up from just 50,841 in December 2003 and 31,000 the year before that. The state’s forward thinking IT policy has also seen the creation of 700 Public Internet Access Points and 400 free wireless internet zones, as well as the link-up of all schools to the web through the state-run ‘Tiger leap’ programme. As a result of these initiatives, Estonia nestles among the leading countries in Europe in terms of the number of permanent high speed internet connections, ranked 7th in the European Union in terms of broadband internet penetration.