High-speed internet attracts new residents to the countryside and increases the value of real estate
"People also live in the countryside. In the e-state hustle and bustle, however, the small detail that there is no access to high-quality internet in remote areas has been forgotten," begins Tanel Talve, Member of the Board of NGO Voose Village Society. The only solution in such a situation is optical cable connection, the development of which is supported by the state. But …
... nevertheless, optical cables may not reach those households that are further away from village centres and where it is too expensive to build a connection. However, the world does not end here - enterprising people take up the challenge and create a way for optical cable to reach them. It happened in the village of Voose in Anija Parish.
Tanel, what motivated you to take up and literally dig a ditch to the connection point on your own initiative?
The need for telework has picked up in recent years. Also, many e-services require increasingly large data traffic which is reasonable to solve with optical cable.
People can't be expected to live in the countryside if they don't have reliable internet, electricity, decent roads and public transport. It is possible to say with the example of the village of Voose - thanks to optical cable, we have gained new residents and the value of our real estate has increased. High-speed internet is crucial for people's competitiveness, its absence worsens social inequality.
How many households were left out of the address area with state support, meaning that they created their own option to connect?
While 28 households were able to connect to Enefit's high-speed internet via overhead line with state support, five farms were able to connect as a joint contribution of Anija Parish, Voose Village Society and Enefit Connect, plus eight farms only led by the village society. In the case of the latter two, it was underground cable.
So you received support from elsewhere?
Yes. We received targeted regional investment support, the so-called tribute money, which made up a small part considering the cost of the whole project, but it gave the village society hope and energy to start the project at all. The village's initiative was also supported by the municipality of Anija, and thus a large part of the village of Voose received optical cable connection. Based on our example, we hope that other villages across Estonia will get a solution to their internet problems faster following a similar model.
What actions and works are required to independently reach a connection point?
Voose Village Society first ordered a project for the area that was not included in Enefit Connect’s construction plans. Then we entered into personal right-of-use agreements with the landowners through whose areas the underground cable was to pass. After getting a building permit, we started digging. We received the so-called pipes from Enefit Connect, which we laid down ourselves and ran to households. The company later entered the optical cable and created the connection.
We were involved in the management, administration and owner supervision of the entire project.
Was it a unanimous decision in the community or was some persuasion needed?
There were no problems with that. Rather, the concern was that about a dozen households located about a kilometre from the centre of the village still missed the connection. It was difficult to explain that we didn’t have enough money, but we proactively created connections for an opportunity in the future to continue where we left off. Of course, it’s always be better to do all the work at once.
Are you already using Enefit's high-speed internet? Are you satisfied?
Some people have signed contracts with internet and TV service providers, some are still choosing. It is very positive that Enefit's high-speed internet is operator-neutral, meaning that you can choose between various service providers. Competition has been created.
We are satisfied with the reliable, fast and more affordable service. And that’s it.
Mait Rahi, Project Manager for Communications Solutions at Enefit Connect:
We always have to look at the cost of building one address point. We route optical cable mostly to the centres of settlements with more households. The state supports a certain part of it. If too large a minus appears for the development amount, then we are forced to make a decision that is certainly not to the liking of border areas.
The activity of Voose Village Society is an excellent example of how an active community itself creates an opportunity to connect. We very much welcome such undertakings, and in case of serious interest, we advise on how to organize the necessary actions.