Tomorrow, the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) will discuss the development of the establishment of broadband or high-speed Internet as a matter of significant national importance. Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal and Deputy Chairman of the State Budget Control Select Committee Andres Metsoja will present reports at the debate.
There will also be speeches by Manager of the Estonian Broadband Development Foundation Priit Soom and representative of Topest OÜ Olav Harjo.
“High-speed and modern data communication connection and its availability, joining the power network and investments into roads are among the most important issues that are always raised at the meetings in the counties, cities and rural municipalities of Estonia,” Metsoja noted. “Coming from the opinion leaders, it is voiced as a strong precondition or an expectation for conducting the administrative reform.”
In Metsoja’s opinion, today’s investments into establishing fibre-optic cable or base network have created conditions for taking high-speed and ultra-high-speed Internet to businesses and population. “In order to ensure further development, we need a plan,” he said. “The need for making changes to laws has become clear, and in order to give a comprehensive overview, it is necessary to be in the same information space. This is why the discussion in the Session Hall of the Riigikogu will be held.”
Metsoja said that the aim is to ensure high-speed and ultra-high-speed Internet connection of good quality with reasonable price to all homes and agencies who wish it by 2020 at the latest.
In his opinion, all existing infrastructure should be used for developing broadband connections. He gave as an example the distribution of fibre-optic cable network through the existing overhead transmission lines, and said that the cable connection and mobile Internet should also be combined.
In 2009–2014, the state invested about 28 million euro of European Union support into the development of broadband base network. Additional support of 41 million euro is planned for 2015–2020.
In the opinion of the National Audit Office, the state had not taken into account that regardless of the availability of base network, the communications companies did not wish to provide Internet service through fixed networks outside the regions of apartment buildings. Now it is the task of the state to find an adequate solution to the market barrier.
The State Budget Control Select Committee discussed the problems related to the establishment of high-speed Internet at its sittings in November last year and in February this year, and made a proposal to the Government to prepare the concept that would contain possible solutions.
Deliberation of a matter of significant national importance in the Riigikogu will start on Thursday at 10 a.m.
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