Rostelecom announced on its website that it has begun wireless network deployments to implement the second phase of Russia’s project to eliminate the digital divide (Universal Communications Service, UCS 2.0) by providing high speed internet access for villages with populations of 100 to 250 people and mobile communication services in small settlements (100-500 people) if they are currently unavailable. In 2021-2030 the project aims to provide more than 24,000 settlements with wireless/mobile communications including voice and internet access, with base stations connected mainly via new fibre-optic backbone links.
Rostelecom – which owns mobile operator Tele2 Russia – switched on the first pilot base station under the UCS 2.0 scheme in the village of Redkoye, Nazyvaevsky District, Omsk Region, providing mobile internet at speeds of up to 50Mbps, also covering neighbouring settlements. The project involves offering all residents of the village SIM cards.
Rostelecom notes that it is near to completing its state contract for implementing the first phase (UCS 1.0) of the federal project to eliminate the digital divide, providing internet access via public Wi-Fi and fibre backbone links to 13,800 rural settlements each with a population of 250 to 500 people. Connecting the first village under the scheme in February 2015, by end-2020 more than 12,400 settlements (90% of those planned) had received connections, and the UCS 1.0 rollout is expected to be finished during 2021.