Olav Harjo
DigiMaa project manager

In many Estonian cities, broadband connection is almost as natural as electricity. It is available and rather inexpensive. One cannot imagine business and e-state any other way anymore. In suburbs, not to mention the rural areas, the situation is a horse of another color. Many residents can only dream of fast and stable internet connection and age forced to go to public wifi centers or cafés to manage elementary business affairs and communication. ICT infrastructure is still in developmental stage in Estonia, and it’s a pleasure to point out that the state and local governments have started to contribute to this.

The Union of Harju County Municipalities started the project DigiMaa, and all municipalities of Harju county and Tallinn districts of Pirita have joined it. DigiMaa establishes broadband fiber optic cable networks there where communications enterprises have not yet built or don’t plan to build in a few years.

In order to get the modern broadband connection, the residents of Harju County must apply for it. For gathering applications, we have created a the current website where you can find all the necessary information about broadband network and DigiMaa.

How do we receive the internet today?

The internet reaches home or office via the following connections:

  • Via mobile network – the service is provided by Telia, Tele2, and Elisa
  • Via radio link or other wireless connection – the service is provided by several smaller service providers
  • Via cable television network (only apartment buildings) – the service is provided by Starman, STV, and Telset
  • Via telephone line or copper cable – the service is provided by Telia
  • Via broadband connection or fiber optic cable – so far, only Telia and some smaller service providers have built fiber optic cable network mainly to apartment and business buildings.

All these connections enable the fastness and quality of the internet connection at least on a minimal level. It’s enough for reading news on the internet, for making bank transactions and for sending small-capacity e-mails. If one wishes to via this connection watch digital television, use unlimited and fast wifi, work or learn on the internet, communicate with friends via Skype, keep one’s photos and videos safely in the cloud, connect security cameras or use other modern services in addition, then all connections don’t manage to do it equally.

Wireless or cable?

Over the air internet is influenced by weather conditions, other simultaneous internet users, and distance from the cell tower. The laws of nature don’t allow transmit unlimited the internet over the air and, thus, limited connection is provided to every user – the operators determine limitations for speed and capacity. Wireless internet is not stable, it is not constantly available and with even speed. Thereof, it’s not possible to watch quality television or to have a video conference via it. Since the connection is limited and unstable, all actions demanding speed and quality are left undone via wireless internet.

Those who have Telia telephone line or copper cable, generally use this connection for the internet. Since it’s a cable, the quality is not influenced by the weather or other users. However, the laws of physics apply on copper cable that determine how far and how much information can be sent via it. Those who are up to two kilometers from the telephone node get to use the internet, houses further away generally don’t. In order to get the internet speed and quality meeting today’s requirements, the distance from the telephone node must not exceed a couple of hundred meters. Since the laws of physics don’t allow to offer greater internet speeds via copper cable, they are already being replaced by fiber optic cables, and in the future copper cable internet connections are not offered anymore.

Via cable television network or coaxial cable, it is possible to offer internet connection with sufficient speed and quality. The speed and quality of the internet connection depends on the fact how well the service provider has modernized its network and which devices it uses in the network. Though the cable television network satisfies today’s needs, many cable television enterprises have announced that they are starting the transition to fiber optic cables and stop offering services via coaxial cables in the future. Still, until there is a cable television network in the house, this connection is generally sufficient for a regular user.

Via broadband connection or fiber optic cable it is possible to use all services today and in tens of years. It is a future-proof connection. In fiber optic cable, the information is transmitted with lasers at the speed of light. The speeds of fiber optic cable internet connection may basically be unlimited. Today, internet connections of 1 Gbit/s are offered via fiber optic cable in Estonia but these speeds can easily be increased.

In the future, fiber optic cable is the only technology for connecting houses. It’s the foundation of information society, in the future everything works via it. Also, for example the 5th generation of mobile technology 5G which in the future will enable high speeds, cannot work without fiber optic cable. Since high speeds spread only very small distances over the air, it can reach people only if base stations are connected to fiber optic cable in every room of the house and in every street lighting pole outside.

DigiMaa connects houses to fiber optic cable

DigiMaa network will be established keeping in mind the needs today and in the future.

DigiMaa network will be entirely ready only in a few years and it has to satisfy all needs in tens of years. For that reason, fiber-optic cable has been chosen.

All houses provided by DigiMaa broadband fiber-optic cable can be sure that they receive all necessary services. Due to modern connection, the property’s value will certainly raise.

DigiMaa builds only necessary fiber-optic cable networks, but will not offer internet service. DigiMaa will remain as the owner of the networks in the future and these will be rented to service providers, like Telia, Starman, STV, and Telset.  Thus, a person can choose the service provider, which wouldn’t be possible if the network was built by an internet service provider.

Digimaa also offers a remarkably cheaper connection fee. When connection fees in the cities are not usually large, then connections in low density areas may reach to thousands of Euros. Connection fee for DigiMaa broadband connection will be a couple of hundred Euros.

Apply now!

Who wishes to connect one’s household or enterprise to DigiMaa network must apply now, even when the building of the network has not started yet. DigiMaa network will not be laid to all houses, but only to those who apply. For applying, one must go to the application page and mark the address where one wants the connection.

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