Estonian Competition Authority
The Competition Authority issued a precept to Eesti Lairiba Foundation (ELA SA), where it demands to mitigate conditions of access to EstWin base network (starting from 20 November 2017) in order to improve high-speed Internet provision options for rural residents.
ELA SA is a foundation founded by the members of the Estonian Information Technology Association, which constructs EstWin network for high-speed Internet access in rural areas. By the beginning of this year, 58 million euro was invested in the network, 86% of which was covered by public funds. The goal of the public funding is to set up a basic network in rural areas where private companies are not prepared to invest under current market conditions. By using this basic network, communications companies are more able to offer broadband services to consumers in various ways.
ELA SA has developed conditions of access to EstWin base network in a way that is suitable primarily for large mobile communication companies with large number of consumers. However, in rural areas fewer consumers reside on larger area than in towns, and the pricelist of ELA SA is not suitable for other companies that wish to provide their services in rural areas.
There is a service called “fiber line rent for consumer connection” developed for rural areas, where the fee per consumer is lower, but its usability is significantly limited by various conditions. In particular, by the number of consumers and the length of the rented fiber line. The precept of the Competition Authority calls for removal of these restrictive conditions.
It is important that reasonable options are available in rural areas on supplying broadband services, using technical solutions preferred by consumers. “Every person in every region of Estonia must be part of the emerging digital economy,” said Märt Ots, Director General of the Estonian Competition Authority. Mitigation of conditions of access to ELA SA base network will provide better opportunities for development particularly the fixed connections and other local solutions.