Russia wants to eliminate “Internet inequality”

Russia Beyond the Headlines, 09.10.2014

Russia is in the process of implementing a project to eliminate the “digital divide” between city residents and villagers with the help of foreign investors. Participants in the construction of the Russia-wide broadband Internet access network will include the Australian fund Macquirie, the United Arab Emirates investors Mubadala, as well as the Kuwait Investment Authority. This was reported today by Vedomosti newspaper, citing a source from the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

The new fiber-optic lines will cover about 13,600 villages with populations of 250- 300 people, totaling more than 4 million people in remote regions. According to the Russian Association of Electronic Communications, only a third of Russia's population (about 46.5 million people) currently uses the Internet.

The project to eliminate “Internet inequality” was approved by the government in early summer 2014. The total construction cost is estimated at 67.5 billion rubles ($1.7 billion). Construction of the broadband network is already underway, but currently Rostelekom is funding the project from its own resources.