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How much is the Internet for the islands?

Connection Kuril to the Internet will cost the budget of the Sakhalin region at least 220 thousand rubles per person

How much is the Internet for the islands?
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In late October, we Reported With reference to the head of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov on Twitter, the news about the beginning of the project on laying a submarine communication line on the Kuril Islands. Details, subtleties and prospects of the fiber-optic communication line (FOCL) “Sakhalin - Kuriles” - in the material EastRussia.

Unlimited tariff
Recall that the FOCL, which is a combined - underground-land, will run along the following route: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk - Kurilsk - Yuzhno-Kurilsk - Krabozavodskoye. The line will be built using the so-called "spectral compaction". The approximate length of the line is 1,4 thousand km. As for its bandwidth, it will be 40 Gbit / s with the possibility of increasing to 800 * 100 Gb / s. Thanks to the implementation of the project on Sakhalin and the Kuriles, it will be possible, in particular, high-speed Internet, VPN, as well as channel rental. Initially, the implementation of the project was expected in time from 2016 to 2018-th year, now its terms have been significantly transferred - the beginning of construction is scheduled for 2018-th year.

From a financial point of view, the approximate total cost of laying the line is 3,3 billion rubles, of which extra-budgetary funds are only 600 million rubles. Moreover, these are not so much extra-budgetary funds as those replenished to the budget by Rostelecom. Considering how many people live in those populated areas, the connection of which is planned by the project (about 15 thousand people), it turns out that approximately the cost of connecting the Internet will be more than 220 thousand rubles per person. Or more than half a million rubles for one Kuril family. 

In per capita measurement, this line will become a real record holder. For comparison, the system of lines laid by Rostelecom earlier on the route Magadan - Sakhalin - Kamchatka, with a total length of about 2 thousand km, cost 5 billion rubles, taking into account the modernization of the land infrastructure in the Magadan region and Kamchatka Krai. connected to new lines (about 300 thousand people), goes about 17 thousand rubles, that is, more than 13 times cheaper than connecting the Kuril population. At the same time, for example, in Kamchatka an unlimited tariff plan for individuals with data transfer speeds of up to 5 Megabits per second worth 1599 rubles, and to 10 Megabits per second -. 1999 rubles is much harder to account for legal entities - companies will pay for the NL order 70 thousand rubles a month.

At the same time, a source of EastRussia at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of the Cable Industry notes that 3,3 billion rubles provided for the Kuril line project may not be enough for him - given the prices that take place in Russian reality. “FOCL with a length of almost 1,5 thousand kilometers is still a 'serious' object,” the source notes. In addition to the cost of a special cable (the price of which, it should be noted, varies greatly depending on the depth of installation) and optical amplifiers required for high speed Internet and the provision of a wide range of Internet services, for its creation it is necessary to spend a lot on the rental and purchase of appropriate equipment. Including - the freight of special ships that can accommodate a large amount of cable. Also, significant costs are the construction of various infrastructure facilities, in particular, on the shores of Sakhalin and each of the islands - Kunashir, Iturup and Shikotan. 

"It seems that this Internet cable" Sakhalin - Kuriles "will be the largest of all similar Russian projects," a source in the All-Russian Research Institute of the Cable Industry told EastRussia. "At the same time, its realization in two years is quite real - provided they are engaged professionally, actively and with all the necessary components." 

“Of course, from Sakhalin to the Kuriles and between the islands of the ridge, Internet with a higher speed and lower cost is needed,” says Sergey Bekhterev, General Director of AltegroSky Group. “As elsewhere, where there is a population at least elementary using TV, the Internet is in demand in these parts.” At the same time, according to the expert, laying a submarine cable is not the only and far from the most rational way to achieve a new quality of the Internet on the islands. An alternative could be the development of the already existing satellite Internet, within which it will only be necessary to install a number of small stations, which will take no more than three months in time, and no more than 1 billion rubles in terms of costs. Moreover, it proves the great optimality of this method and the fact that it is also resorted to abroad - this is how Australia, for example, ensures its sparsely populated territories. Thus, according to Sergei Pekhterev, Rostelecom and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, before laying a cable, both options should be carefully analyzed and compared - both cable laying and the development of satellite channels. 

Payer one - Sakhalin
However, according to the reports of Rostelecom and the Ministry of Communications, everything has already been weighed and decided - the project with the laying of the line will be implemented, the development of satellite communications is not considered. And the cost of building a fiber optic line almost completely falls on the budget. It is not surprising - according to the head of Rostelecom, Sergei Kalugin [said last April - approx. EastRussia]: “The construction of fiber optic lines in the Kuril Islands only at the expense of the company is unprofitable and is unlikely to ever pay off. While maintaining tariffs in rubles even slightly higher than in the rest of Russia, from an economic point of view, it never pays off ... More precisely, it can pay off, but this requires a very long period. ” In early October of this year, the head of the company clearly stated on what conditions Rostelecom is ready to participate in the project: “The project is non-commercial because it has social significance and the company is ready to participate in it under co-financing from the state.”

At the same time, Rostelecom does not really care which budgetary funds will eventually co-finance the project. This conclusion follows from the answer given to the EastRussia correspondent at Rostelecom, which indicated that there was no difference in which funds - federal or regional - would go to co-finance the project. “The construction period does not change. Two years after the start of construction, the FOCL will be put into operation, ”the company said.

At the same time, according to the latest data, there will be no federal money in the project - the costs will completely cover the budget of the Sakhalin Oblast. Thus, in his recent interview with the TASS, the Minister for the Development of the Far East, Alexander Galushka, announced that the FTP "Socio-Economic Development of the Kuril Islands" will be mainly financed from the budget of the Sakhalin Oblast. From what, accordingly, it turns out that the project of the Kuril Internet cable (reflected in this FTP), in the end, completely fell on the shoulders of Sakhalin.

It is noteworthy that initially such financing of the project was expected - in the summer of 2014, Rostelecom agreed on parity financing of the project with the authorities of the Sakhalin region. However, then the project was estimated only in 2 billion rubles. And at the beginning of 2015, the line already had twice the value - due to the weakening of the ruble. In turn, by the end of 2015-year in the budget of the Sakhalin region for the project, given its increased cost, the funds were already scarce. The lack of budgetary guarantees affected the timing of implementation - Rostelecom did not begin to work without visible horizons for state participation. On the contrary, as soon as in October this year, the media reported that the government approved the allocation of financial resources to the FOL project in the amount of 1,93 billion rubles in 2018 and does not exclude the possibility of continuing to provide them to him at 2019, - Rostelecom announced On active steps to implement the project.

In Minvostokrazvitiya correspondent EastRussia confirmed that "the Government of the Russian Federation has taken all measures to ensure funding for the implementation of this project in full in 2016-2018.Necessary funds in the preparation of the budget for 2017-2019 year laid."

Suffer gamers
As you know, the main goal of the aforementioned Federal Target Program (FTP) "Social and Economic Development of the Kuril Islands" [within the framework of which the FOCL "Sakhalin - Kuriles" will be financed] is to increase the number of residents of the Kuril Islands. Accordingly, the FOCL project is subordinated to the same goal. Of course, it is unlikely that the high-speed Internet that will appear in the Kuril Islands thanks to this line will in itself cause an increase in the number of residents in the Kuril Islands. But it will obviously make the work and rest of visitors and local population much easier. That, together with other factors, will really make their stay in the Kuril Islands comfortable.

It is very interesting how Rostelecom and profile agencies treat the construction of the line. So, in Rostelecom, EastRussia correspondent was told that the project "will solve the issue of the deficit of modern communication services in the population, business and public sector on the Kuriles". At the same time, the company notes that it is rather "not about the cheapness of services, as it is common to think, but about expanding them and so good on the Sakhalin spectrum."

In the Ministry of Communications to the EastRussia correspondent the project did not comment. While in Minvostokrazvitiya Russia stressed that "the establishment of fiber-optic lines within the framework of FTP Kurila is one of the highest priority projects. In particular, the high social significance of the project is confirmed by the need of local residents for high-speed Internet access. Because at the present time its speed on the islands remains at an extremely low level. Laying the same fiber-optic link will radically change the current situation. " The ministry noted that "in the 21st century, there are practically no branches of the economy, the development of which does not depend on the speed and reliability of access to the world information space," which means "there is no doubt that the quality of life on the islands will increase."

At the same time, IT industry experts interviewed by the correspondent agreed that in reality, the most severely affected by the satellite Internet today ... gamers. “The time delays that are inherent in transmitting data through an optimally tuned satellite channel do not create much discomfort even with an established video connection,” says the interlocutor of EastRussia. "But they really interfere with the game."
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