Telecom operators promised to bring high-speed internet coverage to each and every municipality around Slovakia within three years. Officials from Orange Slovensko, O2 Slovakia and Slovak Telekom made this commitment in a memorandum of cooperation with the Office of Deputy-Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation, led by Peter Pellegrini.
“To remove white spots from the map of Slovakia is one of the priorities of my office, so I am very glad that we managed to reach an accord with the operators,” Pellegrini said on February 6, as cited by the Pravda daily. “By the end of 2020, every village in Slovakia should have the possibility to connect to high-speed internet, which I consider fantastic.”
In 2015, the National Agency for Network and Electronic Services (NASES) counted up to 1,808 municipalities without high-speed internet.
Operators have obligation to invest
The three major telecom operators, as well as the Local Internet Providers Association, have pledged to cover the country with internet through their own investments.
Digital infrastructure in this country is at least as important as transport infrastructure, stressed the deputy-PM, adding that this means there is an obligation for operators to invest hundreds of millions of euros. Pellegrini also told the Slovak government that they would be good partners and asked that they create the conditions necessary to implement such a large investment.
If the memorandum’s goal is met, Slovakia will belong among the leaders in the European Union without white spots, Pellegrini said. According to him, some €80 million has been allocated for expanding internet access in the Operational Programme Integrated Infrastructure.
Allocating money for free internet access
Slovakia will not have to invest in building optic cables in remote villages, and can thus shift the funds elsewhere. “We would like to use some of this money for towns and villages that want to provide free internet access in their squares, libraries or hospitals, while another portion should be used to cover transport corridors,” the deputy-prime minister said.
Talks will also be held with the Transport Ministry as the steering body of this operational programme, he added. If there are dozens of millions of euros left after financing wi-fi connections and covering railway corridors and highways, he would like to shift the money to covering motorway and expressway project documentation.
7. Feb 2018 at 20:45 | Compiled by Spectator staff