34,000 kilometers of fiber to towns of 250-500 people. The government program, managed by Rostelecom, offers basic service at 10 megabits for less than $1/month to about a million Russians. Complete universal service coverage of Russia will require 215,000 kilometers and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2018.
Let’s hope the Russians do better than the Indians, whose similar “fiber to the village” program is the better part of a decade late. India’s telecom programs are world-class examples of inefficient government work. Less reported is the equally incompetent American “public-private partnership.”
Obama in 2008 promised “affordable broadband for all Americans,” echoing a similar promise by George Bush in 2004. After spending $7B in the Broadband Stimulus and $billions more in USF, by most measures the U.S. has the highest % of “unserved” of any developed country except perhaps Canada. Pai and Trump are now spending $billions more in CAF and a likely $billion additional in the infrastructure plan that will mostly be waste or a giveaway to the telcos.
The U.S. programs are run by the companies, who naturally put making money for their shareholders first. The regulators, including Obama progressives, have been world-class examples of how inefficiently pure capitalist ideology can run. The heads of companies including Century & Frontier have come to Wall Street gloating about how the CAF program is contributing to their cash flow even before any customers are signed up. I infer from this they are being subsidized more than the total cost. They also see strong cash flow coming as they acquire customers. If so, any sensible businessman would have been willing to pay part of the cost or more. The program for the large companies was put together in close coordination with the companies. No one has exact data except the companies, but I’d guess CAF is spending about twice what is necessary. I haven’t confirmed, but believe some if not most of the $billions going to AT&T in CAF is being spent on wireless upgrades they almost certainly would have made with little or no subsidy. The companies shaped everything in their own favor. Carol Mattey made a valiant effort to cut waste but the FCC wouldn’t stand up to the telcos.
Russia, to almost everyone’s amazement, offers some of the best Internet deals on earth, $6/month for faster speeds than England.
From the Russian Ministry,
Nearly four thousand of settlements connected to the Internet as part of the reform of NCU