Russia’s second largest broadband operator by subscribers, ER-Telecom (Dom.ru), has launched a project to connect over 10,000 private detached households in the Moscow Region with fixed-wireless internet and TV services by the end of this year, and has so far switched on such connections in 33 small settlements in the region, reports ComNews. Using so-called ‘wireless next generation networks (WNGN)’ technology – which ER says increases radio network capacity seven-fold – connecting each home costs between RUB8,000 and RUB10,000 (USD107-USD133), according to the company. The Dom.ru website currently advertises two internet/TV packages for rural or suburban single dwelling residences in Moscow Region, with speeds capped at 15Mbps and 30Mbps, costing RUB900/RUB1,100 per month, each with 131 TV channels. In comparison, in the Rostov region – where ER piloted its WNGN rollout last year – the operator advertises options of 50Mbps or 100Mbps fixed-wireless internet for private homes (‘even in the forest’, ‘even 100km from the city’) on a standalone basis costing RUB700/RUB800 a month. Whilst these packages offer faster speeds at cheaper prices than their Moscow Region WNGN equivalents, ER’s current standard fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) packages for city apartments in Rostov-on-Don cost RUB550 and RUB650 for respective speeds of 100Mbps or 250Mbps.
ER launched its ‘Country Internet’ project in 2019 to connect private households in rural/suburban areas via a mixture of FTTB, GPON fibre and WNGN, and has so far reached a service footprint of half a million homes in various Russian regions, a figure which it aims to increase to four million by 2024. Investment in the project has passed RUB1 billion and is expected to reach RUB5 billion over five years. ComNews quoted ER’s Vitaly Klishin as saying: ‘The Country Internet project is recognised by the company as one of the highest priorities and is actively developing throughout the country.’ TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that ER disclosed initial plans in 2018 to deploy WNGN high speed radio access infrastructure in 15 regions, following initial tests in Rostov, and in August 2019 it completed the first stage of replacing a pre-WiMAX wireless network in Moscow Region with WNGN, claiming at the time to increase capacity six-fold.