High-speed Internet to a remote area near you
Connecting northern and eastern Finland to fast and efficient data networks is advancing. A joint venture project between DNA and Sonera created a shared network in the Kuusamo region over the summer. By the end of next year, those living in other sparsely populated areas will enjoy connection speeds of up to ten times faster than currently available.
The selection of data network services improving the efficiency of businesses is continuously increasing. At the same time, telecommuting is on the upswing everywhere in Finland. Such development brings new requirements for telecommunication as well. The popularity of cloud services used over the Internet, in particular, increases the capacity requirements for businesses of all sizes and all industries – also in the remote regions of northern and eastern Finland.
The finished pilot region of this shared network project, which is unique in Finland, includes a number of areas in the city of Kuusamo, such as the centre of Kuusamo and Kuusamo Airport, as well as the Rukajärvi region. During August, the shared network expands to Kemijärvi and Salla, among other places.
- The Finnish Shared Network project allows DNA to build a high-quality radio network cost-effectively to sparsely populated areas in northern and eastern Finland. The network, built in co-operation by the operators, will cover approximately half of Finland and 15 per cent of the population by the end of 2016, says DNA's Director of Radio Networks Jarkko Laari.
The Finnish Shared Network brings DNA's customers a number of benefits. It does, for example, improve local reception in the region. The companies and entrepreneurs in the region can also benefit, because fast and reliable data connections allow more efficient working in the increasingly tightening market environment.
- By bundling the frequencies and resources of two operators, we have been able to build an extensive 4G network that is twice as fast as the previous one in the Kuusamo pilot region, and we were able to build it extremely quickly.
Extensive and fast data
Kuusamo, the financial centre of north-eastern Finland, was chosen as the pilot region because the varying terrain and operating environment of the area were ideal as a testing ground. The project in Kuusamo establishes a benchmark for future construction work in other regions.
- The results of the pilot project indicate that shared use of the radio network works as expected in Finland's environment. The construction work will then proceed to other areas of the city of Kuusamo and after that to eastern and north-eastern Lapland. We estimate that the work in the entire north of Finland will be finished by the end of the year.
Through the shared network we can provide companies with higher quality mobile services because the 4G coverage will improve significantly and the top bandwidths of network services will increase also in the rural and remote areas.
- During the first stage of the project, the maximum data transfer speeds of the network using the LTE Advanced 4G technology will be 300 Mbit/s in densely populated areas and 150 Mbit/s in sparsely populated areas. Because of an increased number of base stations and higher capacity, the shared network will also improve the connections and reception for all 2G and 3G users.
How does Laari see the development of top bandwidths in the future now that the shared network has started so well?
- In densely populated areas we have the capacity to reach the speed of 450 Mbit/s. We will follow the development of standards and the new devices entering the market. In principle, there is no limit on the data transfer capacity in densely populated areas.
In sparsely populated areas, the future development of data transfer speeds depends on the progress of the deployment of the 700 MHz frequency band that is planned to happen during 2017.
- However, this does not mean that new frequency bands currently used would not be available in certain locations in sparsely populated areas.