High speed broadband will be offered to everyone by 2025

The government has set a new goal that all Norwegian households and businesses will be offered high-speed broadband by the end of 2025.

District and Digitalisation Minister Linda Cathrine Hofstad Helleland (H) sets a new ambitious goal of fast internet for the entire population of Norway. Here during a question time in the Storting in November last year. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen, NTB

At the end of 2020, 90 per cent of the inhabitants of Norway were offered high-speed broadband. That goal was set in 2016 – and has now been reached.

District and Digitization Minister Linda Hofstad Helleland (H) is now setting an end date for when we will reach the goal of coverage for everyone in the whole country. By the end of 2025, all households and businesses must be offered at least 100 megabits per. second download speed.

– Everyone should have the opportunity to work from home and use all digital, public services for a simpler everyday life. What is important about the goal is that everyone in the districts will now also have access to the internet at high speed, Helleland says to NTB.

Incentives in 5G development

To achieve this, a package with several measures is now being launched. The new goal appears in a report to the Storting which will be presented on 9 April.

This autumn’s auction for the development of the 5G network plays a key role in future high-speed coverage – both in deep valleys and high in the mountains.

The provider, such as Telenor or Telia, undertakes to develop high-speed broadband in sparsely populated areas in exchange for 5G frequencies, which the state is responsible for.

Normally, players would have to pay for access to these frequencies. The state has proposed a discount of up to NOK 560 million, which would normally be revenue to the state. Providers now receive the discount in exchange for the development of high-speed broadband in areas where this would not be profitable. They must pay for an amount that is at least as large as the discount.

– 5G is a resource with great values. During the pandemic, we have experienced how important fast and stable broadband is – and it will not be any less important in the future, says Helleland.

The whole of Norway will be offered high-speed internet by the end of 2025, according to the government’s new goal. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB

High speed?

High-speed broadband is defined by Helleland as a download speed of at least 100 megabits per second. second and an upload speed of 10 megabits per second. second. In Sweden, they have a goal that 98 percent of households will have an offer of a minimum of 1000 megabits download speed by 2025.

In other words, they have a goal of coverage that does not reach the entire population, but which in return is ten times faster. Helleland says that the Norwegian authorities also have ambitions for higher speeds, and that this is a process that takes place in parallel, but which will take longer.

– The most important thing is that everyone should get a good offer at high speed that is good enough for most people today. This does not mean that we should not have ambitions for gigabit speeds, because technological development is happening very fast. What is “broad” broadband today can be “narrow” in a short time, she says.

Both telecom and broadband companies

The details of how the 5G auction will take place are out for consultation. The National Communications Authority (NKOM) will provide further guidance on exactly which areas are to be auctioned off and which players can bid, as soon as possible. But already now Helleland opens up for more than the major telecom providers Telenor, Telia and Ice to participate.

– We plan for as many people as possible to win in the auction, both the telecom providers and the broadband companies, she says.

The development of the 5G network will start immediately after the auction and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024. Thereafter, everyone is scheduled to have high-speed internet during the following year.

– It will go from standing stomping on a two-lane road in rush hour traffic, to driving alone on an eight-lane motorway, Helleland promises.

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