TALLINN - The government has adopted a national strategy for developing broadband Internet access that sets out the basic principles for boosting the availability of high-speed Internet service until 2007.
Government officials said the need to devise a national strategy arose from the EU's e-Europe action plan for the period ending in 2005. The program aims to bring high-speed Internet access to all regions and promote its use in order to ensure the availability of e-services and equal participation in e-society for everyone.
One goal spelled out in the strategy is that Estonia must keep its place among the three leading EU countries in terms of broadband Internet connections per capita, a matter of pride for the Baltic country.
"Construction of networks won't be subsidized significantly, but the possibility to do it is provided for, as far as pilot projects are concerned. It is advisable to achieve a situation where a rapid Internet connection is attractive enough for everyone to pay the market-price for it," said Mait Heidelberg, adviser at the Ministry of Economy and Communications.
In the meantime, the ministry is preparing for a tender to find a service provider. It expects to announce the tender later this year.
Edvard Saarma, head of the communications department at the ministry, told the Baltic News Service that several companies have started tests to develop a wireless broadband network. He declined to give names, though Elion, a leading communications company, has announced that it has launched such tests.
The network, based on the CDMA technology that makes use of a frequency formerly used by the NMT cellular network, will primarily cover areas where Internet is currently unavailable. The network will offer data communications service only, Saarma said.