The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) has announced that EUR6 million (USD7.7 million) in state aid has been granted for fibre-optic broadband projects in Sodankyla and Ranua. Of the total, EUR3.7 million has been set aside for the Sodankyla project, with EUR2.3 million to be spent in Ranua; both projects are also being funded the by the respective municipalities where work is taking place. With the state aid having been granted as part of the Broadband 2015 project, Paivi Peltola-Ojala, head of Broadband and Media Group at FICORA, noted: ‘The projects in Sodankyla and Ranua are a good example of such broadband building where a municipality and local players took things forward themselves because nationwide operators were not interested in providing high-speed connections their area.’
In terms of specifics of the projects, Tahtikuitu Oy will build an advanced broadband network covering the entire area of the municipality of Sodankyla, with the estimated length of the network being 1,200km, covering some 2,220 premises. Construction is already underway, and the project is expected to be completed by end-2016. Meanwhile, in the municipality of Ranua a fibre-optic network will be built by Ranuan Kuituverkot Oy, with a 900km link providing services to around 1,200 premises; work on this project is forecast for completion by end-2017.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Finland’s ‘Broadband 2015’ initiative is supporting telcos in the roll out of new infrastructure in sparsely-populated regions of the country. Where funding is available operators are required to cover at least 34% of the costs, with the remainder funded by the state, municipalities and the European Union’s (EU’s) Rural Development Fund. According to the FICORA, with the Finnish government having set aside EUR64 million for the initiative for the period 2009-15, it has allocated 70% of that figure so far.