Infrastructure minister kicks off shared fibre-optic expansion project

11 Jan 2013

Croatia’s transport and infrastructure minister Sinisa Hajdas Doncic on 9 January 2013 announced the launch of a government telecoms initiative under which public companies will pool existing fibre-optic transmission network assets with the potential to cover 75% of the country with high speed services. ‘We have drafted a model, and we have decided who will be tasked with this job and have defined time frames,’ the minister said at a Cabinet meeting, adding that more information would be available after the next government session, according to a report on the government’s web portal. At least five national companies including power utility HEP, rail operator HZ and motorway operator HAC are part of the plan to develop shared fibre backbone infrastructure stretching to rural areas. The companies reportedly own between them 3,000k of optical fibre. In December 2012 proposals were announced to enlist publicly-owned transmission company Odasiljaci i Veze (OiV) to manage the combined wholesale fibre capacity, most of which is currently underutilised. The minister this week confirmed that OiV ‘or some other public company’ would be given the job of managing the shared public network, the creation of which the government calculates will save it HRK250 million (USD43 million) whilst also improving rural broadband accessibility. The project implementation is expected to begin within the next two months. OiV (or whichever entity is chosen) will offer the fibre capacity wholesale to private and public operators, which would be eligible for European funding if expanding broadband access to remote areas.