Despite reports that the entire broadband market has reduced its investments, the municipal urban networks expect to invest SEK 3.8 billion (approximately US$400 million) in fibre expansion in 2020, according to a new report produced by the Swedish Urban Network Association, Svenska Stadsnätsföreningen (SSNf). However, the organisation has warned that without help, it will be difficult to maintain current levels of investment.
Mikael Ek, CEO of SSNf says, “We know that many urban networks have the task of expanding the fibre network in their entire municipality, even though the profitability of the development decreases [the] further out in the countryside they come. This is a positive message, but without further state aid and regulatory simplifications, it will be difficult to maintain the investment figures of recent years even in the future.”
The report also looked at some of the reasons why some residential households were declining connecting their properties to a broadband network. Among the most common reasons for declining a connection cited in the report are age of property owner and economic status. (See Fig)
Reasons why Swedes decline to connect to city networks
The report found that of those surveyed, 76% of respondents, older households do not see the benefits of the connection, or that the household considers that they can cope with an existing connection, also 76%. It says that never or rarely does the household refuse because they already have agreements with another fibre operator or that the property is low valued.
-Ek comments, “Studies show that digital exclusion is already greater among the elderly and financially vulnerable today. Here, there is a need for an information campaign on the possibilities of digitalisation, but also increased opportunities for economically disadvantaged people to connect their property, not least for households with children living at home.”
Earlier this year, he European Commission issued a veto decision, blocking Swedish regulator Post-och telestyrelsen (PTS), from adopting its market review determination. With this decision, the Commission objected to PTS’s finding of a national market for wholesale local access to fibre networks, concluded by PTS, despite very significant variations in competitive conditions across Sweden.
For more information, visit www.ssnf.org