Broadband development is advancing at a rapid rate in Sweden. In the rural areas, it is common for the “byalag” or local rural resident association, with the support of society, to drive this development forward. The very first groups to acquire broadband as a result of this kind of support are extremely satisfied with what they have achieved. At the same time, it is a time-consuming process that requires a considerable amount of voluntary work from members of the local rural resident associations.
Concluded in a new report from the Swedish Competition Authority
In Sweden, the ambition is that it should be possible for more households to be offered broadband connection. Support for the development of broadband has for a number of years been strong, and the government has proposed a further strengthening of this support in its Budget Bill for 2017.
Some of the funds are being allocated to so-called local rural resident associations. The Swedish Competition Authority has established how the local associations that receive support have reasoned in different situations where there has been a choice involved. The results are presented in a report entitled “Broadband development in rural areas – Local rural resident associations and competition.”
It has been shown that local rural resident associations have used different strategies when they have built up the broadband network in rural areas. For example, every third association has chosen to sign a collective agreement for all its members, whereas others have chosen to set up so-called open networks in which the users themselves decide which operator they want to appoint. Many of the local rural resident associations have not advertised the purchase of the work, but have instead made direct contact with different suppliers for offers.
Broadband investments that are made by local rural resident associations take place most frequently in rural areas that are located in the vicinity of built-up areas rather than in rural areas a long way from built-up areas. A current and future question is how the local associations will act when the broadband development is finished and in operation. Selling the ready-built network, or continuing to keep it under its own management, is a question that the local associations often ask themselves. The question will also be of interest in the future, in step with the completion of more broadband networks.
In the case of those local associations that are on the point of constructing a broadband network, the report is an important source of knowledge on what other local rural resident associations have done and the questions they have considered.
“It is a valuable move to spread the experience that others have gained on their own projects to those who are currently in the process of constructing modern infrastructure,” says Dan Sjöblom, Director-General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
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Jimmy Dominius, Press Secretary, tel: +46(0)76-542 15 80 email@example.com
Björn Axelsson, Project Manager, tel: +46(0)8-700 15 47