Ukrainian ISPs expand bomb shelter internet coverage

18 Mar 2022

Broadband ISPs in cities across Ukraine have connected hundreds of bomb shelters with fixed internet/Wi-Fi facilities and continue to expand their networks daily. On 17 March Kyivstar – the country’s largest fixed broadband provider by subscriptions – reported that it now provides fixed internet in 201 bomb shelters in 14 cities – compared to 65 shelters in nine cities it reported on 9 March – and is currently connecting an average of 15-20 new shelters daily (covering such cities as Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Kryvy Rih, Rivne, Lviv, Dnipro, Obukhiv, Khmelnytsky, Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky, Zelenodolsk, Zhovti Vody, Chernivtsi, Ternopil, Lutsk and others). TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database (GCD) says that Kyivstar’s fibre broadband services cover 125 cities in total.

There were similar reports from Ukraine’s third largest fixed broadband operator Volia and its parent Datagroup. On 14 March the group indicated that it had connected more than 200 shelters/facilities in 18 regions of Ukraine to free high speed internet, up from 128 reported on 10 March. GCD notes that Volia’s cable broadband network spans 34 cities, while Datagroup’s FTTx access network is present in 44 cities.

Tenet, a fixed ISP covering the southern cities of Odessa and Mykolayiv, reported on 11 March that it had connected 130 bomb shelters, while Vega – a fixed operator owned by Vodafone Ukraine – said it had connected 15 shelters in various cities on 14 March before announcing connection of another eleven shelters in Kyiv on 17 March.

In Kyiv, a special online portal is dedicated to fixed internet/Wi-Fi for bomb shelters, run by the Department of Information and Communication Technologies of the Kyiv City State Administration, where people can request a new connection from the participating ISPs or find the nearest connected shelter. As of 18 March the site displayed the following statistics for the capital: ‘829 new applications received; 342 connected to the Internet of shelters; 22 providers on the platform.’ Additionally, Ukraine’s mobile operators are providing free data for access to an air raid alerts app.

Meanwhile, nationwide operator Ukrtelecom – Ukraine’s largest fixed voice provider and second largest fixed broadband provider by subscriptions – claimed earlier this week that its network was 80% operational in terms of accessibility of district connections. In a release on the telco’s website on 14 March Ukrtelecom’s general director Yuri Kurmaz said: ‘Since the beginning of the war, we have restored (after damage) the Internet in more than 1,000 settlements.’ Ukrtelecom – which serves many smaller towns across the country and a total of 3,400 settlements with its combined DSL/fibre access network according to GCD – gave its most recent update on Facebook on 17 March, announcing that it had restored internet services in Sumy region.