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Iceland´s Rural Fibre Project

In recent years, Telcos have been building up high-speed mobile networks throughout virtually the entire country. Furthermore, they are moving forward in their efforts to install fixed 100Mb/s  VDSL2 internet connectivity in all population centres. For marketing reasons, they have prioritized fibre network installation in greater Reykjavík area and the Eyjafjörður area. State and local government participation is vital in order to bring fibre networks to rural areas, a project that is well underway.

The Iceland’s Rural Fibre Project (Icel. Ísland ljóstengt) is a short-term Government initiative to bring ≥100 Mb/s wired internet to 99.9% of households and businesses nationwide by year-end 2020. The State contributes funding for the project, and local governments can apply for state aid that depends their own contributions and other criteria, so as to install fibre networks in sparsely populated areas. It is assumed that Telcos will eventually install fibre networks in all population centres in Iceland without state aid.

Iceland’s Rural Fibre Project was launched in 2016 and is overseen by the Telecommunications Fund. Roughly 5,500 households and businesses were included in the project at the outset, and local governments have yet only to negotiate connection agreements in 2019 and 2020 for the last 1,500 buildings in sparsely populated areas to reach that target.

Strong emphasis is placed on cost efficiency, synergies with other utilities development projects, and cooperation with Telcos insofar as is possible. Fibre network installation outside population centres also plays a role in upgrading core communications infrastructure nationwide, which is a prerequisite for greater reliability, coverage, and data transmission speeds across all mobile networks outside densely populated areas.

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