The largest Ukrainian fixed-line operator JSC Ukrtelecom is actively developing the service of providing non-volatile Internet: at least 60% of the operator’s subscribers received its service in blackouts, the company’s CEO Yuriy Kurmaz said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
“At least 60% of our subscriber base across the country could receive service from Ukrtelecom during external power supply is absent,” he said.
According to Kurmaz, due to batteries and diesel generator sets at communication centers, Ukrtelecom provides uninterrupted service for optical line subscribers within 4-8 hours depending on the battery capacity and up to 24-48 hours depending on the ability to refuel diesel generators.
The head of the company said that after the start of heavy missile attacks on energy infrastructure, one can speak of significant interest and demand for a non-volatile Internet, which, however, is uneven across regions.
“We especially feel at the moment the urgent and growing need of new subscribers for a non-volatile Internet in Kyiv city and the region, and such a need is seen in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Vinnytsia and Lviv regions,” Kurmaz said.
He said that Ukrtelecom plans to purchase additional diesel generator sets and modern storage batteries, which could keep the nodes working for a longer period. At the same time, all backbone nodes, network core nodes, as well as a significant part of the provider’s access nodes are already reliably powered by diesel generator sets, the CEO said.
“This gives confidence to our subscribers that they can access the Internet even if they do not have electricity in their homes or in the multi-apartment sector, and the same for businesses. I think it’s a fairly high percentage at the moment. In practice, I repeat, not less than 60% of our subscriber base could use the Internet during a large-scale power outage,” the CEO of the operator said.
He added that a necessary condition is also the provision of power to the client equipment.
Speaking about the technologies thanks to which Ukrtelecom manages to maintain a sufficiently high level of communication stability, Kurmaz said that it is a mistake to think that the company’s main feature is its HDSL technology and copper infrastructure.
“Indeed, in Kyiv we have a flurry of requests for Internet connection using ADSL or VDSL technology, the use of which can significantly increase the bandwidth of the subscriber line of the public telephone network, as well as combine high-speed data transmission and voice transmission over the same copper pair. But Ukrtelecom is, first of all, an optical provider of Internet service. At the end of 2022, our optical subscriber base prevails both in the mass segment (b2c) and in the corporate (b2b) segment. Therefore, we have no less demand for non-volatile Internet using GPON technology than copper access,” the CEO stated.
According to him, in December, due to the abnormally high interest of the people in Kyiv in the Internet using HDSL technology, Ukrtelecom approached 50% of the total number of new clients’ connections using ADSL technology in the mass segment. At the same time, in October four fifth of new private clients (b2c-segment) were connected via optical cables, and in November the share of such subscribers was two thirds of new connections.
“In the corporate segment, the situation is stable: 90% of all new connections are via optical cables,” Kurmaz said.