Finnish government to invest in broadband programme

28 Nov 2008

A report from the Finnish government says that it will invest up to EUR66 million (USD85.2 million) as part of plans to increase high speed broadband coverage across the country; the funds are expected in instalments of EUR11 million per year over a five-year period. The investment is part of a government scheme that aims to increase access to 100Mbps broadband speeds in Finland to 100% of the population by 2016. The state expects that by 2015 approximately 95% of the population will have access to the higher broadband speeds through commercial development; by 2010 all broadband users are expected to be able to receive at least 1Mbps.

The government has stated that public funding will account for a maximum of 66% of the total investment, with the state providing no more than 33%. Public funding will be subject to regional councils’ and municipalities’ participation in the construction of broadband networks, and regional departments are expected to work with the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) to assess where funds will be spent. Under state aid laws the subsidy must first be approved by the European Commission, and the government has also confirmed it will seek the use of EU structural funds for the programme.