Summary of broadband development in Estonia
Estonia updated the targets and measures for broadband as part of its Digital Agenda 2020 in early 2014. The strategy envisages full coverage with connections of at least 30 Mbps by 2020 and aims to promote take-up of ultra-fast subscriptions with at least 100 Mbps with the objective that these account for 60% or more of all internet subscriptions by the same year. Estonia is currently deploying a middle-mile network of fibre-optic cables. After completion, 98% of all residential buildings, companies, and public authorities will be located within 1.5 km of at least one fibre-optic network access point. Estonia’s new information society strategy is in preparation. With its 5G roadmap, Estonia would like to achieve 5G connectivity in major cities by 2023 and along transport corridors by 2025. Estonia is in the process of putting together the new broadband plan for 2021-2030.
National broadband strategy and policy
- The process of broadband deployment is managed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM, Majandus-ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium). The Ministry is responsible for broadband strategy and legislation.
- The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA, Tarbijakaitse ja Tehnilise Järelevalve Amet) is a governmental organisation operating in the administrative area of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. It oversees and regulates technical standards and collects market data. The aim of the Authority is to help implement the national economic policy through improvement of safety, organising the expedient use of limited resources and increasing the reliability of the products in the field of manufacturing environments, industrial equipment, railway and electronic communication.
- The Estonian Broadband Development Foundation (ELASA, Eesti Lairiba Arenduse Sihtasutuse) was established in 2009. ELASA is responsible for the EstWin project, installation of fibre-optic cables and construction of connection points.
- The Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL, Eesti Infotehnoloogia ja Telekommunikatsiooni Liit) unites Estonian ICT companies, promotes their cooperation, presents their joint positions regarding broadband network development and acts as a competence centre.
- The Information System Authority (RIA, Riigi Infosüsteemi Amet) is an implementing entity of the structural assistance of the European Union, which administers the European Regional Development Fund support in building the broadband backhaul network.
In 2009, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL) founded the Estonian Broadband Development Foundation (ELASA). Members of the Supervisory Board of the Foundation include a representative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM). The purpose of the Foundation is to implement the EstWin project and to give all residential houses, businesses and authorities a chance to connect to the next-generation broadband network with a transmission speed up to 100 Mbps. The roll-out of the high-speed middle-mile networks to sparsely populated areas, which were unlikely to be covered by market-driven deployment, involves laying over 6000 km of fibre-optic cables and the construction of network access points. These investments are intended to stimulate complementary deployments of last-mile connections by commercial telecom operators. By January 2020, the project had rolled out approx. 7.000 km of fibre backhaul networks in rural areas and settlements with less than 10,000 inhabitants, where optical networks did not previously exist and where operators had no previous plans to install them. EstWin is funded inter alia from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The implemented and planned parts of the network are visualised on the online map.
Main aims for broadband development
- Completion of the high-speed middle-mile network
- Expansion of the broadband access network in regions of market failure, by:
- Reducing administrative burden related to the construction of a communication network by simplifying the relevant legal framework;
- Obligatory installation of “last mile” connections in new buildings which are part of state-funded development projects;
- Promoting community initiatives for the development of fast internet connections;
- Supporting the construction of “last mile” connections in areas of market failure, including rural areas, if necessary;
- Analysing the need for external connections and implementing relevant projects when necessary;
- Ensuring the availability of radio frequencies that meet the requirements of information society to provide internet access for end users in areas where fixed networks are not available;
- Promoting the principle of network neutrality, which means that electronic communication operators may not restrict final users’ access to legal communication services, websites or available platforms;
- Promoting secure public WiFi networks, mainly provided by (local) public sector organisations.
The long term Next Generation Access aims are 100% coverage with 30 Mbps and 60% household penetration with 100 Mbps service by 2020.
Main measures and financial instruments for broadband development
A central mapping tool (Communications Coverage Application) on availability of broadband services has been developed by the Estonian Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA). It is an interactive portal, where the users can get information about the availability of broadband services in Estonia.
Recovery and Resilience Plan: In total EUR 208 million is devoted to digital objectives. The support for deploying VHCNs in rural areas (Component 3 ‘Digital State’ with a EUR 24.3 million budget) is expected to ensure broader access to online services. 8.000 sites shall be
equipped with VHCN under this investment.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Estonia
For the latest data on broadband coverage, subscriptions and penetrations, coverage of different broadband technologies and costs check the scoreboard reports and the country reports of the Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI).
Spectrum assignments for wireless broadband
For details on harmonised spectrum assignments consult the European 5G Observatory.
National and EU publications and press documents
- Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia
- Development vision of next-generation broadband network in Estonia 2009
- Study on National Broadband Plans
- Guide to High-Speed Broadband Investment
- Broadband Connectivity Reports and Analyses
- Mobile and fixed broadband prices in Europe
- Study on broadband coverage in Europe
- Estonia - country reports on performances in digitisation: connectivity, digital skills, digital public services and more
- Development vision of next-generation broadband network in Estonia 2009 (Eesti uue põlvkonna lairibavõrgu arendusvisioon)
- Analysis and proposals to build the fast internet connections ('last mile')
- Estonian Information Society Development Plan 2020 (Eesti infoühiskonna arengukava 2020)