Malta enjoys effective cross-platform competition, with 52% of broadband connections being through Melita’s cable network, 46% through GO’s DSL network, and the remaining 2% through Vodafone’s WiMAX network.
More than half of all broadband subscriptions are bought in a bundle with other telecom services. Broadband speeds, once relatively slow by comparison with some European markets, are now among the fastest in the region. The government early mandated a minimum service of 4Mb/s, while Melita has a Fibre Power offer of up to 100Mb/s across most of its footprint. GO provides a service of up to 20Mb/s
The government has endeavoured to improve connectivity for islanders; in 2008 it set up ‘Project Blue Skies’ to subsidise broadband to households which had no or only dial-up internet connections.
More recently, the government – while acknowledging that the market alone is unlikely to deliver FttH-based broadband to all premises – has launched a programme to facilitate FttH infrastructure, particularly in areas considered commercially unviable by the main telcos.
The anticipated roll-out will initially concentrate on classic network hubs (schools, hospitals, businesses and public service providers), eventually reaching all premises nationally. A variety of investment and operational models will be assessed, with the aim of securing a model which will require the minimum public aid.
The call for expressions of interest is part of the ‘Vision 2015’ programme by which the government is aiming to maintain developments in the ICT, e-health and e-learning sectors. The current minimum 4Mb/s service will be upgraded to 100Mb/s in order to future-proof the country’s infrastructure and consumer requirements for IP-based services.
The main operational models under consideration include:
- A private model by which a private operator would build and operate the network, with public funds made available where required. The government would in exchange impose certain obligations on the operator.
- A joint venture model, wherein the network would be part-owned by the state while the private sector would build and operate the network.
For more information on Malta’s telecom market, see the updated report Malta – Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts.
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