Finland: proposed law change heralds future mission critical broadband

​The Finnish government has proposed several changes to the law in anticipation of the roll-out of public safety mission-critical broadband in the form of its Virve 2.0 network.

The changes to the legislation – in particular the Electronic Communications Services Act, as well as laws around public sector security network operations – will allow the use of commercial mobile telecommunications companies to help build out the network.

A spokesperson for Suomen Erillisverkot Oy, the operator of the current countrywide public safety narrowband solution Virve, said: “The network belonging to the successful telecommunications operator would be expanded and strengthened to meet the needs of government communication. This would also increase the opportunities for citizens and businesses to take advantage of digital services in a wider geographical area. New legislation will also ensure the availability and quality of public service provision in the event of network congestion, with priority being given to [public safety users]. This would have a temporary effect on the quality of a standard user service on a region-by-region basis, with the public also able to use other options if the selected primary network is not available.”

The current network has around 40,000 subscribers. It is used by a variety of organisations, including the police, defence forces, the border guard, customs, and social/health services. According to Suomen Erillisverkot Oy, the new service will be designed for the same user groups.

The government’s proposal follows work by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Ministry of Finance, with input from network users and telecom operators. It is hoped that the law will be changed in early 2019, after which Suomen Erillisverkot Oy will handle the procurement of the service, prior to its final build.

This article has been corrected – the previous version incorrectly stated that Suomen Erillisverkot Oy will compete to run the service.