Ukrtelecom has issued a fibre-optic broadband investment proposal in response to an announcement by the Ministry of Digital Transformation which has set a four-year goal of reaching 95% of Ukraine’s rural population with 100Mbps-plus internet services, up from 65% currently. Ukrtelecom said the Ministry’s goal is achievable via a public-private partnership to build out fibre access in two stages. In the first phase, of two to 2.5 years duration, the telco proposes to cover 3,900 settlements with a total population of 2.6 million via 23,000km of backbone fibre and 26,000km of fibre access lines, resulting in 85% 100Mbps coverage of the national rural population alongside connection of educational, medical and administrative institutions. Investment required for stage one is estimated at UAH3 billion (USD107 million) including UAH1.6 billion from Ukrtelecom and UAH1.4 billion in state funding. The proposed second stage involves the connection of another 8,000 villages, including small remote settlements, to reach the 95% rural coverage target.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance has proposed that state investment of UAH5.5 billion is required for connecting all social infrastructure institutions to high speed services, a fund which Ukrtelecom hopes to tap for its proposed stage one rural rollout. Currently, more than 16,000 (around 40% of) educational institutions and over 8,000 (around 37% of) hospitals and medical facilities in Ukraine lack access to a fibre-optic internet connection.
Ukrtelecom’s copper/fibre internet access network currently covers 2,600 settlements, with the operator focusing heavily on expanding fibre coverage. In the first half of 2020 alone, the company laid almost 3,000km of optical infrastructure to cover an additional 200,000 residents in 180 villages previously lacking high speed internet access. The latest rollouts were part of a project begun this year to connect an additional 200 villages with 250,000 inhabitants, in partnership with technology vendor Iskratel. Separately, Ukrtelecom reported it has connected 98 hospitals and healthcare sites to its fibre-optic network so far this year, bringing its total to 580 such institutions.