Elektrilevi to invest tens of millions in internet distribution network

Elektrilevi intends to bring the last mile of broadband internet to significantly more households than will be funded by the state's allocated €20 million.
Elektrilevi intends to bring the last mile of broadband internet to significantly more households than will be funded by the state's allocated €20 million. Source: Elektrilevi

The Estonian state-owned electricity distribution network operator Elektrilevi recently won the public competition to support the spread of high-speed internet in Estonia. As the state's allocated €20 million will only be enough to bring the high-speed network to 40,000 of 100,000 planned buildings, the company will invest tens of millions of their own into the project as well.

"For the 40,000 white area addresses presented in the state competition, we will build a communications network with the support of the state and will also contribute our own assets," Elektrilevi spokesperson Tuuli Sokmann told BNS. "However, taking into consideration the internet network to be built outside of the white areas, Elektrilevi's investment will be severalfold that of the state support of €20 million."

Earlier this week, the Technical Regulatory Authority announced that Elektrilevi had won the public competition organised for the establishment of the so-called last mile of high-speed internet in Estonia. The 40,000 addresses presented in the competition constitute just one part — the part to be built with the help of state funding — of Elektrilevi's plans to build a communications network, the company said.

The electricity distribution network operator, which is part of the Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, added that along with Elektrilevi's own investments, the plan is to establish a connection for at least 100,000 addresses and, when counting flats separately, 200,000 households.

"In the last mile competition, the task was to compile an analysis and present a number of connections that Elektrilevi could establish with the help of the state's allocated support in the regions stipulated as so-called 'white areas,'" Taavo Randna, a member of the management board at Elektrilevi, said in a press release.

Designated as white areas were regions where there is currently no quality internet service and where Estonian communications operators are not planning to invest in the next five years, he explained.

"With the support of €20 million, we will be able to connect 40,000 buildings in these areas to a high-speed internet network in the next five years," he added.

Elektrilevi to go above and beyond state's plans

Randna noted, however, that Elektrilevi's plan for the establishment of a high-speed internet network is significantly bigger and encompasses regions outside of the designated white areas as well.

The number of households to be connected will likely also increase over the course of the company's investments into the project.

"We have drawn up initial plans in consideration of petitions as well as the development plans of the electricity network," Randna said. "However, once we start building in one region, it will be possible to connect more homes to the network than planned."

He also promised that before construction on the communications network begins in each region, area residents will be notified and additional interest in joining the network determined.

Elektrilevi's offer for the establishment of a last-mile communications network was deemed successful on 26 October. The Technical Regulatory Authority will sign a contract with the successful bidder 30 days following the publication of the results, ie in late November.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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