Russian 4,000 villages34,000 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

 
 

Description

The reform of universal service (ACS) is provided by the federal law "On Telecommunications", according to which all residents are guaranteed equal access to communication services. However, in Russia there are still many towns and villages, where there is a problem with modern telecommunications. To solve the problem of the digital divide Russian Ministry of Communications has prepared a reform of the ACS Foundation - provision of universal service. providing NCU system was designed according to the requirements of Chapter 8 of the Federal Law №126-FZ "On Telecommunications".According to the law in the list of universal telecommunications services include pay phones, access points (VRM) and access points (APs).

Provision of universal service was created in 2005. It is formed from the contributions of all operators - 1.2% of the proceeds from the provided telecommunications services. Thus, it is consolidating about 14 billion rubles a year. 

With funding of universal service provision an extensive network of payphones was built, consisting of almost 148,000 vehicles. From street phones using a special payment card Russian citizens can make a call anywhere in the country, free of charge to call the special services - ambulance, police, gas service. Also, to provide data services and provide access to the Internet was organized about 20 thousand PKD, 15 thousand of which are located in the offices of "Russian Post".

Since 2005, the technology and the penetration of telecommunication services have changed, while the principles and universal service technologies have not changed. Therefore there is a need to reform the telecommunications services, improve their performance, and provide new services to the population.

Previously, the universal service reserve were solely on the fact that in our country all working payphones. Under the proposed reforms without changing the size of the reserve fund will be able not only to maintain the existing network of payphones and VRM, and build about 200 thousand kilometers of fiber-optic communication lines (FOCL).

February 3, 2014 President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin signed the Federal Law №9-FZ "On Amendments to the Federal Law" On Communications "," aimed at reforming the universal service system, and designed to ensure the population equal access to modern infrastructure of telecommunications services. The law provides for the creation of access points in the settlements numbering 250-500 people and providing public access to the Internet at a speed of 10 Mbit / s without limiting the number of consumed traffic, with access fee of 45 rubles per month.

In accordance with the Russian Federation Government №437 from March 26, 2014 the sole operator of universal service defined by PJSC "Rostelecom".

May 13, 2014 signed a ten-year contract with the PJSC "Rostelecom" on the conditions of the provision of NCU. The concentration of responsibility in one statement will reduce costs and ensure the development of communication networks. As part of the project PJSC "Rostelecom" pave over 200 thousand kilometers of fiber optic links in almost 14 thousand settlements, which are home to more than five million people. Towards the construction of the most ambitious construction projects in the world are more than 18 thousand of larger settlements, where about 30 million people. Construction of FOCL will allow to develop modern communications networks and ensure access for all citizens of Russia to modern communication services. Construction is due to end in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Simultaneously PJSC "Rostelecom" provides for the establishment of modern communications networks in settlements of between 500 and 10 thousand people at the expense of own funds without attracting budget financing.

As part of the contract for NCU prepared a schedule of construction of access points in the Russian Federation.

In 2016 it was introduced the AP in the Amur, Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Belgorod, Bryansk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Moscow, Murmansk , Nizhny Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan, Samara, Saratov and Sakhalin, Sverdlovsk, Smolensk, Tambov, Tver, Tomsk, Tula, Tyumen, Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk, Yaroslavl regions, the Altai, the Transbaikal , Krasnodar, Perm, Primorye and Stavropol Territory, the Jewish, the Nenets and Yamal-Nenets autonomous District, Moscow, the Republic of Altai, Bashkortostan, Buryatia, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachay-Cherkessia, Karelia, Komi, Mari El, Mordovia, North Ossetia-Alania, Tuva, Udmurtia and Chuvashia. The settlements on the territory of which the installed access points, located about 400 thousand households.

 

The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein