How are things going with the construction of new broadband communication lines in developed countries?

In March, the US President announced plans to provide high-speed Internet access to as many citizens as possible and to make the tariff schedule as transparent as possible. We discussed the reaction of providers and the public in the previous article, and today we will talk about how things are with similar initiatives in other developed countries.

Photo: Mika Baumeister.  Source:
Photo: Mika Baumeister. Source:

To every house

Back in 2010 the UK government initiated a large-scale program to provide citizens with broadband access to the network. According to the project, providers should already be close to the completion of the project – they planned to stretch fiber-optic cables to each house by 2025. However, today the situation is somewhat different – there is no significant progress, and this is understandable. Even at the stage of discussion, the initiative was met without much enthusiasm – the construction of network infrastructure in remote regions required serious investments, so telecoms – like any other adequate business – were wary of proposals implying such spending. And ten years ago it was very difficult to predict when large-scale investments could be “recouped”.

In March, the regulator intervened in the situation. Ofcom agency in charge of telecom operations, introduced reliefthat should spur competition among ISPs. In particular, Openreach, which controls the main Internet networks in Britain, was allowed to independently determine the cost of using its optics. At the same time, the operator was obliged to reduce fees for other providers for working with the “copper” infrastructure. The movement towards a freer approach to business was to the liking of market participants, and they promised that will continue building infrastructure with renewed vigor.

But despite the indulgence, the companies may not be in time to complete such a large-scale project by the scheduled deadline. In addition, residents of remote regions are worried that if broadband Internet reaches them, they simply will not be able to afford it – now with this arise difficulties. Perhaps in the near future, the country’s government will have to introduce new subsidies for both providers and citizens.

Everyone’s right

At the end of April, the Bundestag handed down to the level of the bill the right to fast Internet access. Until now, only a 56 Kbps channel has been guaranteed in this regard. However, it is not yet clear what the legislators mean by “fast internet”, since the document does not specify the new requirements. They are to be determined by the Federal Network Agency – according to preliminary estimates, the lower bar will be 20 Mbps

While the law has not yet entered into force, large telecoms and providers have objected – they will have to develop infrastructure in the suburbs and remote corners of the country to ensure compliance with the updated regulations. They will have less effort and resources to improve the quality of communication in megalopolises, and this will slow down the deployment of new technologies and may negatively affect the perception of the quality of Internet communication services by the townspeople, who make up the core of the audience. In addition, the bill does not imply a development map, therefore, business is not ready to support it without understanding the possible consequences.

Photo: Ildefonso Polo.  Source:
Photo: Ildefonso Polo. Source:

Bundestag decision criticized and representatives of opposition parties. In their opinion, the estimated threshold of 20 Mbps per household is insufficient. Finland has a similar law acts since 2010 – there is the government and providers are oriented at 100 Mbps. Perhaps German regulators have yet to analyze this experience.

Quality of digital life

The development of broadband Internet is also involved in Sweden. According to the plan approved by the government (page 6), by 2025, 98% of citizens should have “gigabit” access to the network. For the remaining two percent, throughput should not fall below 30 Mbps.

At the end of 2020, the Swedish Communications and Telecommunications Authority took away 44 infrastructure projects, and is preparing to allocate $ 12 million in subsidies for the development of broadband networks in the regions. The total “expenses” for the development of high-speed communication, planned only for this year, there appreciate at $ 159 million.

Such dynamics of network modernization is not something extraordinary for this country. Sweden takes second place in the world for the “digital quality of life” (Digital Quality of Life Index), second only to Denmark. The DQL index includes the level of digital public services, their degree of security, the security of personal data, as well as the quality and availability of broadband Internet. Perhaps the launch of new high-speed networks will allow the country to come out on top in the world in this rating.

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