Summary of broadband development in Latvia
Latvia aims to provide equal and high-quality electronic communications services throughout the country to all residents, state and local government institutions, businesses and socio-economic drivers. In both urban and rural areas speeds of at least 100 Mbps, upgradable to a gigabit are planned as well as 5G coverage for all large urban areas. Through the broadband project, coverage is being improved for the rural regions of Latvia as operators are able to provide access services using neutral passive optical infrastructure supported by state aid programmes. Latvia supports the Gigabit society targets in the Electronic communications sector development plan for 2021-2027 as well as the Digital Transformation Guidelines for 2021-2027, approved in 2021. The national 5G roadmap was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in February 2020.
National broadband strategy and policy
- The Ministry of Transport (Satiksmes ministrija) is responsible for developing electronic communications policy and legislative acts (laws and Cabinet Regulations) as well as implementing Latvia’s broadband policies.
- The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (Vides aizsardzības un reģionālās attīstības ministrija) is responsible for e-governance initiatives, state information technology affairs and development of national frequency and numbering plans.
- The Public Utilities Commission (Sabiedrisko pakalpojumu regulēšanas komisija) is responsible for regulation and supervision of the electronic communications sector.
- The Competition Council (Konkurences padome) acts as the national competence centre, promotes competition in all sectors and aims at ensuring free and fair competition environment to every market participant.
- The Latvia State Radio and Television Centre (Latvijas Valsts radio un televīzijas centrs, LVRTC) implements the broadband deployment project.
Main aims for broadband development
Latvia supports the Gigabit society targets in the Electronic communications sector development plan for 2021-2027 that was approved in 2021. The plan regulates communications sector policy throughout Latvia. The target groups of the plan are electronic communications enterprises, planning regions, local governments and residents. The plan aims to facilitate the transition towards very high capacity communications networks capable of providing end-users with Internet access services with data transmission speeds of at least 100 Mbps in both urban and rural areas. The plan defines two courses of action: a) development of broadband electronic communications infrastructure, and b) security of electronic communication networks and services.
Given the limited amount of public funding available, the efforts will concentrate, without replacing private investment, in areas where, for economic reasons, electronic communications operators have no interest in deploying infrastructure or do so insufficiently.
Latvia adopted the Digital Transformation Guidelines for 2021-2027. This is an overarching strategy for the country’s digital transformation, covering ICT education and skills, internet access, modern and efficient public administration, e-services and digital content for society. The guidelines set a vision of equal, fast and high-quality provision of electronic communications services throughout the territory of Latvia for all residents, state and local government institutions and companies to provide at least the minimum necessary for society and economic development availability of communication infrastructure. The aim is that:
- All households have access to internet connection with at least 100 Mbps download speed that can be upgraded to gigabit speed, and
- 50% 5G coverage in all large urban areas (in Latvia - Riga, Jelgava, Liepāja, Daugavpils) and all land transport arteries.
Main measures and financial instruments for broadband development
- Regulation measures: Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers ensure the possibility to intervene in common projects with other merchants for investors who develop optical fibre networks (Article 43).
- The implementation of the broadband project is progressing at a good pace. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project is deploying dark fibre and access points up to the centre of municipalities in rural areas currently not served by NGN and where there are no plans for NGN development (‘white’ areas defined according to EU broadband guidelines). Private providers have to deliver the last mile, for which no public support is foreseen.
- The Latvian Parliament adopted transposition measures of the Cost Reduction Directive, in particular the new Law on high-speed broadband networks, in April 2017.
- In its roadmap to implement the Connectivity Toolbox, Latvia announced plans to simplify the permit-granting procedure for building electronic communications networks. The aim is to assess the possibility for tacit approval and a fast-track procedure for rights of way, further develop the single information point and simplify deployment of small cells. A working group has been established to evaluate the environmental footprint of electronic communications networks.
- Latvia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan includes two measures on connectivity infrastructures, with a combined budget of €16.5 million, accounting for 4% of the RRP digital budget. They will address last-mile connectivity in rural areas and passive infrastructure on the Via Baltica 5G corridor. The broadband or VHCN last-mile infrastructure development measure foresees to provide connectivity to 1,500 households, businesses, schools, hospitals and other public buildings in rural areas. It has a budget of €4 million. An investment of of €12.5 million for the construction of passive infrastructure on the Via Baltica corridor for 5G coverage aims to ensure 100% fibre backhaul availability along the Latvian part of the Via Baltica.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Latvia
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 publications and press documents
- 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
- Digitālās transformācijas pamatnostādnes 2021.-2027.gadam
- Elektronisko sakaru nozares attīstības plāns 2021. - 2027.gadam
- Platjoslas projekts, LVRTC