National infrastructure provider CETIN, which owns and operates the largest telecommunications network in the Czech Republic, connecting all regions of the nation, has revealed plans to extend fibre-optic access networks to low-population-density locations with support from the EU. The company, created from the separation of O2 Czech Republic’s infrastructure assets and operations in June 2015 by owners PPF Group, has pledged to cover 143 so-called ‘white spot’ rural municipalities, consisting in the main of sparsely populated localities, where a stable and fast enough internet connection is missing and where no operator plans to build out its own infrastructure. In a press release, CETIN noted that the costs to build some 12,000 fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections will be partly covered by subsidies from the EU’s European Structural Funds amounting to approximately CZK338 million (USD14.8 million), while a further CZK123 million will be invested by CETIN itself. All of the planned connections meet the higher Next Generation Access (NGA) standard – i.e. speeds of at least 100Mbps/30Mbps (down/uplink).