Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka: the ministry’s role is to enable

“Finland is known internationally as a global forerunner – perhaps even a superpower – in telecommunications and information technology. Our common goal is to retain and strengthen this position,” says Timo Harakka, Minister of Transport and Communications, in a speech he held at FiCom’s 20th anniversary event.

Timo Harakka, Minister of Transport
and Communications

“In addition to this common goal, one of the most important enabling factors in the success story of Finland’s information society is extremely well-functioning dialogue and collaboration between industry, authorities and civil society.

I see the role of the Ministry of Transport and Communications as being an enabler more than anything else. Finland is widely praised for our advanced and active radio frequency policy, which offers a sufficient number of appropriate frequencies for operators to use in a timely fashion.

For years, Finnish communications policy has striven to allocate as many frequencies as possible to wireless broadband use. The extremely extensive reach, high quality and affordable prices of our mobile broadband are largely due to our successful national frequency policy.

Competition between companies on the Finnish mobile markets has done its part to keep consumer prices low and has enabled e.g. the unlimited use of data on broadband contracts for the consumer; that is, all of us. Finns currently rank highly worldwide in the use of mobile data and the prices of unlimited mobile contracts are very low on an international scale.

Regionally comprehensive and reliable telecommunications connections also create regional equality, because people can work and use official services regardless of location. This has been successful in Finland, as e.g. the 4G network is available to almost everyone in all municipalities.

The implementation of Finland’s active frequency policy must continue in order to achieve its goals as a technological forerunner, as the policy is key to the successful implementation of 5G technology. A significant amount of frequencies must be allocated for 5G technology as telecommunications continually increases in wireless broadband networks. 5G allows for new services and increases companies’ business opportunities in new sectors, making e.g. the Internet of Things part of everyday routine.

In Finland, we’ve aimed to influence international and EU-level operations so that a sufficient number of frequencies are found and allocated to 5G. Frequencies are traditionally taken into use very rapidly in the country. Despite the incredible development of mobile technology, we mustn’t forget fixed connections. We need both fixed and wireless networks.

When discussing 5G, we should also remember the security perspective. Our ability to identify data security threats and to warn of them is based on extensive and effective national and international partnership networks that have been built steadily over a number of years. A Finnish operating model based on collaboration has also proven successful in this sector.

Remaining on the crest of the wave of ICT development requires ongoing research and development work to achieve new innovations.

The Government has set a target for Finland to be carbon-neutral by 2035. In order to achieve this target, emissions must be reduced in all areas, including in ICT. It must be emphasised that by using ICT more innovatively and effectively, we can improve resource efficiency and create eco-friendlier operating models. This can reduce emissions in different sectors, such as the transport sector.

In addition to the carbon footprint, the ICT sector’s actions and innovations can and hopefully will play a key role in the achievement of climate targets. In Finland, we are able to turn challenges into opportunities, and this also applies in the context of business.”