News Communications EU funding
Infografika Broadband project

In order to boost the competitiveness of the regions and ensure the availability of high-quality internet in the regions, a broadband optical internet network is being built in rural areas with funding from European Union (EU) funds. Within the framework of phase II of the Broadband optical network project "Improving the availability of electronic communications infrastructure in rural areas", it is planned to build 2050 km of optical network routes, more than 250 connection points for operators, as well as connections to 17 educational institutions by the end of next year.

"The broadband optical network is built as part of the project in places where, due to the low population density, electronic communication service providers would not be able to build their own infrastructure, as such construction would be financially unprofitable. Communications infrastructure is as important as access to roads or medical facilities for everyone, regardless of where they live. By strengthening the communications infrastructure, Latvia creates the prerequisites for increasing the pace of digital transformation in all areas of the economy. It is expected that in the future, as the working and learning environment moves to a remote and online mode, the demand for powerful internet services will increase throughout the territory of Latvia," explains Ligita Austrupe, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport.

According to the objectives of the EU strategy "Europe 2020", Member States should provide access to fast Internet (internet speed of at least 30 Mbit/s) and very fast Internet (internet speed of at least 100 Mbit/s to at least 50% of households). The construction of a broadband optical network is an essential prerequisite for improving the availability of electronic communications networks for users - citizens, institutions and entrepreneurs. Already since 2012, Latvia has been developing the "middle mile" optical network with the EU funding, which gives electronic communications operators the opportunity to rent modern infrastructure for data transmission and further provide their customers - households, institutions and organizations with permanent, high-speed broadband Internet service. The project provides for building the optical network in those areas of Latvia where, due to economic considerations, electronic communications merchants (operators) are not interested in expanding such a network. Also, the network infrastructure is additionally created near those educational institutions that do not have access to high-quality broadband Internet to ensure an effective distance learning process.

The Broadband project is implemented in two phases. In phase I, which was completed in 2015, 1 813 km of optical network and 177 optical network access points have already been built. Phase II was launched in the second half of 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.

1 938 km of optical network and 261 optical network access points have been built during phase II. Currently, the largest number of optical network access points built and put into operation is in Latgale - 82 access points and 543.7 km of optical network, followed by Vidzeme with 75 optical network access points and 520.5 km of optical cable network, Zemgale with 46 optical network access points and 360.4 km of network and Kurzeme with 54 optical network access points and 482.1 km of optical cable network. Four optical network access points and 31.7 km of optical cable network have been built in the Riga planning region. According to the number of leased kilometers, for several years now, the network has been used most extensively by electronic communications operators in Vidzeme region – in the districts of Madona, Valmiera and Alūksne to provide services to the inhabitants.

The broadband optical network is used by 14 electronic communications operators - nine of them are operators that provide services in a certain region, two fixed communications operators that provide services throughout the country and three mobile communications operators. Most regional operators cannot build the optical network infrastructure at their own expense due to high costs.

With the aim of providing schools with the Internet resources necessary for the implementation of modern and high-quality education, by the end of 2023, it is planned to install optical network access points in those educational institutions located in rural areas where electronic communication services providers did not plan to build it due to the small number of inhabitants and high investments (so-called "white areas").

The broadband project is implemented by SJSC "Latvijas Valsts radio un televizijas centrs"(LVRTC): phase II is financed in the amount of EUR 49 734 253, of which EUR 42 274,115 is the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and EUR 7 460 138 is the contribution of LVRTC.

More information about EU fund support 2014-2020. during the 2014 planning period - on the website of the Ministry of Transport:


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