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IT interest groups fail to agree on next steps for base network

The brown lines show the network as of 2016, the colored lines show the parts that are either planned or currently being built.
The brown lines show the network as of 2016, the colored lines show the parts that are either planned or currently being built. Source: (Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium)

The Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL), municipalities, communications companies, and representatives of regional broadband projects have been unable to reach agreement how to use the €4.6 million still to be disbursed for the construction of a broadband base network.

Since during the discussion of different projects no proposal based on consensus was reached, and taking into account the limited size of resources, the ITL will not submit a proposal for building the network, head of the association Jüri Jõema wrote in a letter to Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE).

Palo asked the different interest groups to identify the funding requirements of regional broadband projects.

The ITL gathered proposals from communications companies providing broadband services to end users as well as the parties to potentially carry out the projects, such as the Estonian Broadband Development Foundation (ELASA) and the not-for-profit Estonian Data Communication Network. Proposals were handed in also by the Association of Municipalities of Estonia.

Though the parties met several times, no agreement was reached how to proceed. Instead, ITL members would make proposals directly to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, of which Palo's portfolio is a part, Jõema said.

To have a basis for its funding decisions, the ministry gathers data every year on the funding requirements of the base network infrastructure.

Of the original funding allocated to the base network for the period from 2014 to 2020, €4.6 million are left. This money would ideally be distributed as effectively as possible, but to detemine how exactly this could be done most sensibly, all the parties involved would need to come up with an agreement, which so far they haven't been able to do.

The matter concerns the so-called base network, which is different from the government's last mile project with its €20 million investment volume over the coming two years. The base network is built for the service providers themselves.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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