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Fast 4G: 300 Mbps wireless in Northern Finland by end of year

Mobile operators TeliaSonera and DNA have announced cooperative plans to build a far-reaching, modern 4G wireless network in Northern Finland. The organisers say that the speedy network will be able to reach 99 percent of its customers.

Kyltti kertoo käynnissä olevasta mastotyöstä.
Image: Jarkko Riikonen / Yle

Two of Finland’s mobile operators, TeliaSonera and DNA are joining efforts to build a new 4G network in Northern Finland by the end of the year. The two companies have created the Finnish Shared Network, a partnership dedicated to building the upgraded network.

Finnish Shared Network says customers can expect speeds of 300 Mbps (megabits per second) in more populated towns and 150 Mbps in rural areas.

Fast wireless signals in Northern Finland – especially in vast parts of less populated areas – have been difficult, sometimes impossible, to come by.

300 Mbps wireless at the top of Finland

TeliaSonera and DNA are fierce rivals in the competitive mobile markets but have decided to join forces to change the situation there.

Work on the new additions to the already-existing networks begins this week in Kuusamo. The project is planned to be complete by the end of the year.

The high speed internet connections mean that mobile customers in the region, even in remote areas, will soon be able to access broadband-heavy content like streaming video.

“Television programming, like ice hockey matches and Formula One, continues to grow on mobile platforms as well,” Finnish Shared Network CEO Antti Jokinen said.

“But so far it’s pretty much failed” to reach those regions - this upgrade will change that in the future, he said.

Optical fibre shouldn’t be overlooked

The Regional Council of Lapland considers it vital to also build, improve and maintain the optical fibre – land-based – connectivity in the region, too.

While mobile networks are built by mobile companies, hard-wired connectivity is maintained by local or municipal companies.

Mika Riipi, of the Regional Council of Lapland, says that it is important that fibre construction continues in parallel with the high-speed wireless improvements.

“Yes, the significance [of the improvements] is huge, these mobile connections offers freedom of movement,” Riipi said.

But, he added, the fibre network is also vitally important to the region due to the way populations are spread out in the vast area.

“These things are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “Keep in mind that fibre offers totally unlimited possibilities. If we think of our economic way of life, and sparsely populated areas, fibre is important. Our goal is that everyone will have access to broadband, so yes it is still topical,” Riipi said.

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