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Estonian islanders hope state will support internet 'last mile' project

The DigiSaar project hopes to bring fiber-optic internet to even the remotest of Saaremaa and Muhu farms.
The DigiSaar project hopes to bring fiber-optic internet to even the remotest of Saaremaa and Muhu farms. Source: (

Islanders in Saaremaa and Muhumaa are attempting to develop a project covering the so-called last mile of fiber-optic cable to connect end users on the two major western islands to high-speed internet. In order to support the effort, project leaders hope to get a share of €20 million in funding being distributed by the Estonian government.

Leaders of the DigiSaare ("Digi-Island") project are currently actively mapping out island residents who would like to see stable internet, television or other services fiber-optic cable would allow reach their rural homes within the next few years, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."

The narrow black fiber-optic cable that the Estonian Broadband Development Foundation (ELASA) is currently in the process of laying underground by the tens of kilometers in Saaremaa is actually fast enough to handle the entire island's total annual data usage multiple times over.

This cable is not the one that will constitute the last mile, however it will make up the base network which the DigiSaar project can use for its own last mile project in the future.

Between three different operators, the island of Saaremaa currently already has a fiber-optic backbone network of around 1,000 kilometers; another 1,500 kilometers of cable will be needed to link end users' homes to this network.

"The current forecast is that a minimum of 4,000 adopters is needed to bring this project to life and for it to be commercially viable," DigiSaar project leader Priit Pihel said.

Leaders of the island project hope to be granted part of the €20 million that the Estonian state is earmarking for connecting rural homes to fiber-optic networks.

"Financially, the current forecast in the case of 4,000-6,000 adopters is approximately €14 million," ELASA director Priit Soom said. "The government is distributing €20 million, of which €5 million is possibly support for our project, €2 million will come from adopters and the remaning €7 million from local governments."

Regardless of distance, the DigiSaar project aims to lay fiber-optic cable to connect even the remotest of farms in Saaremaa and Muhu. Interested households can sign up for the project here (link in Estonian).

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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