On Friday Estonian minister of Economic Affairs and Communications and Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL) signed EstWin, a development project that makes 100 Mbps wide-band internet accessible to every citizen of the country by 2015.

EstWin aims to significantly increase competitiveness and GDP of the country as inspired by the latest IMF research directly connecting wide-band availability to GDP. By the research every 10% increase in wide-band connectivity boosts GDP by 1,21% per citizen. Considering this and recent encouragements from European Commission in regard to the investments in next-generation networks, this is to become a lifebuoy for Estonian struggling economy.

At the time Estonia deploys 4 500 - 5 000 km of optical network with below 600 access points for fixed networks in rural areas. To guarantee 100 Mbps connections for 98% of population and companies by 2012, additional 6 640 km of fiber-optic network has to be built. That 6 640 km will add 884 new access points making the maximum range to the closest access point 1,5 km, a distance that allows 100 Mbps connections over VDSL2.

EstWin is the biggest ever project signed in between public and private sector of Estonia estimating to 384 million Euros. A quarter of the budget is coming from public sector and is expected to be covered from the Structural Funds of European Union. Most of the investments will be introduced by the telecom companies behind ITL: Elion, Elisa, EMT, Starman, Levira, Linxtelecom and others. Elion, Starman and Levira are already operating IPTV networks and exploring possibilities for nationwide HDTV transmission. Domestic mobile operators such as Elisa and EMT are experiencing rapid increase in mobile internet traffic as well.

EstWin alternatives have also been initiated in Australia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Singapore and Sweden.

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