TeliaSonera building a cross-border optical fibre link from Kuhmo to Kostomuksha

The long ongoing project to extend fast optical fibre links to Kostomuksha (Kostamus) will become reality next year. In Finland, the links are almost ready and on the Russian side, they are estimated to be completed by the summer of 2008. Link benefits the 30,000 inhabitants of the city of Kostomuksha and the companies operating there.

The optical fibre link between Kuhmo and Kostomuksha will be the third data communication cable between Finland and Russia, and it is estimated to benefit the 30,000 inhabitants of the city of Kostomuksha and the companies operating there, as well as the entire Northern Finland.

”The cable enables safe data transfer to companies in Finland and Russia, improves e-trading opportunities and creates the conditions for modernizing border crossing and customs clearance,” says Timo Aaltonen, Senior Manager, TeliaSonera Broadband Services in Finland.

It is estimated that this will make the Kostomuksha area increasingly attractive for Western investors, and improve the business opportunities of enterprises that are already operating on both sides of the border. In the past few years, approximately 3,000 new jobs have been created in Kostomuksha. The biggest Western investors in the area include Finnish PKC Group and Ikea.

The project to build the approximately 50-kilometer cable took its first steps in 2003. The permissions of ten different authorities were required for building the cable, and the final permission, allowing the cable to be taken across the border, was given at the end of November. The link that is now being built is only the third link to cross the Finnish-Russian border. Other links serve the St. Petersburg and Moscow areas. In Finland, the connection is built by TeliaSonera Finland and in Russia by TeliaSonera International Carrier/Russia.

The link that is now being built will at first have a transmission rate of 2,5 G/bps, which corresponds to 100 to 150 home Internet connections or about 2,500 telephone connections. As this link is optical fibre, its capacity can be easily upgraded, even up to 600 Gbps.

Heikki Haataja, the Director for Via Vartius Oyj, a company specializing in investment expert services in Russia among other areas, says that it is of essential importance to the area that this project is implemented. Haataja believes a fast broadband connection to be of vital importance to companies and cross-border trade, but says that it also enables for example remote teaching between the Universities of Oulu and Petrozavodsk. The link makes attracting foreign investment to the area easier, and I believe that in addition to Finland and Russia, its impact will be reflected on Northern Sweden and Norway, as well, Haataja says.

For more information, journalists can contact:
Senior Manager Timo Aaltonen, Sonera, +358 400 704345
Head of Sales Area Oulu Jukka Kitinoja, Sonera, +358 40 3022410
Head of Communications Ahti Martikainen, TeliaSonera Finland, +358 40 302 4500