Eutelsat brings free internet to Albania
October 4, 2012 10.49 Europe/London By Robert Briel

The Albanian government is bringing free public internet access via the Albanian postal service using the Eutelsat satellite system.

The plan is to connect 850 post offices, schools and local government offices in rural areas to the internet as part of the Digital Age of Communications Agenda initiated to increase free public Internet access for Albanian citizens.

Eutelsat’s Skylogic affiliate has teamed up with its longstanding partner in Albania, Tring Communications, to equip schools and post offices with the Tooway broadband service powered by the Ka-Sat satellite. The first of a total 1,000 access points are currently being deployed, using an 8 Mbps satellite service that enables users to benefit from the Internet for information and education and to access services that include video streaming. The schools and post offices benefiting from Tooway are located across Albania, including in the most rural and hard-to reach areas that are easily served by a satellite service.

Albania’s Prime minister, Prof. Dr. Sali Berisha, commented on the project: “We have a very special terrain in our country and it is important that our villages, towns and cities do not suffer and are not discriminated against because the private sector does not wish to invest in a broadband infrastructure in these difficult or remote areas. By licensing private companies to build their own networks, the government has expanded the broadband infrastructure. The last mile can now be completed by the public sector or in partnership with the private sector. It can also be assigned to the private sector by the Albanian Postal Service. As a result, we will very soon have more than 1,000 free Internet access points throughout Albania.”

Arjan Kraja, general director of Tring Communications confirmed that the first phase of the project is beginning in the peripheries of Tirana and will then expand to other cities, towns and villages. “Called Public Access Points (PAP), this project opens opportunities for Albanians to have free access to the fastest and highest quality Internet service, even in the deepest rural areas of the country,. Tring Communications will make this initiative possible in six weeks through satellite technology and fibre.”