The broadband access to the Internet is absolute standard in the most
developed countries. In the EU countries the level of
penetration in 2009 was at the average level of 23,9% per 100
Even with the xDSL being the most popular technologies ( according to
OECD 60% in 2008) and the cable tv (28%) access through the
fiber optic cable (9%) became more and more significant. In 2008
in the OECD countries there was already 23 mln accesses to the
Internet performed in the FTTx technology. It is important to
underline that the growth in this technology was the most
dynamic in comparison to other broadband access (39,6 growth in
comparison to 13,6, chart 1).
The leading countries in the development of NGN are Japan and
South Korea where the use of the FTTx technologies in 2008 was
at the level of 45% and 38% (chart 1). It is important to
underline that Europe is behind in this category. The positive
examples include Sweden where through the fiber optic cable 19%
of the Internet accesses is performed and Denmark with the level
of 9%. The countries with the biggest economic growth like
France, United Kingdom or Germany use the FTTx technology.
In total numbers the above mentioned Asian countries have a
leading position and in comparison to all OECD countries 82% of
access came from those countries. The next leading country is
USA with over 2,5 mln accesses in the FTTx technology ( which is
It can be predicted, that the trend of enlargement of access in
the FTTx technology will remain. Japan and South Korea will keep
on developing of the their networks and substituting the copper
lines with fiber optic cables. The European countries like
Poland, France, Netherlands and United Kingdom are building the
proper infrastructure as well.
Chart 1: Broadband internet access by different technologies
Chart 2: FTTx/LAN technologies as percentage of the total
broadband access (%, OECD)
In 2009 the number of people using the broadband access to the
Internet in Poland was increasing. But the level of penetration
was still below the OECD average and unfortunately there was a
threat that the distance will be deeper every year (Chart 3).
The weak position of the broadband Internet access in Poland is
the consequence of a few factors ( Chart 3), which can be
categorized into 3 groups:
Low knowledge about computers and Internet. Many people in
Poland are not interested in having a computer and Internet
access at home. This is due the insufficient computer
education in the country.
Too high costs for the consumer. The price of the Internet
access has decreased in the resent years and is comparable
to other EU countries or even lower. But taking into
consideration the income range the price still remains too
high to be affordable for all.
Existence of the „white spots”. There are many areas in
Poland (even around urban areas) where due to the
technological problems it is not possible to have broadband
access to the Internet.
Chart 3: The main reasons of not having the Internet access
in the households according to Polish Central Statistic Office
2008 (in %)
Furthermore, the speed of the transfer significantly differ from
the European average and additionally the fix operators are not
offering the real triple-play, which is considered already a
The alternative operators, which in 2008, had the 16,6% share in
the DSL market, are offering their services mostly through BSA,
and not through own infrastructure or LLU. In fact Poland have
no infrastructural competition. The alternative operators has
also lower investment potential and probably it would not change
significantly very soon.
The cable TV providers are creating small infrastructural
competition for the incumbent operator. They have the 30% share
in the market of the broadband services. Mostly in the big
agglomerations they win most of the consumers. Unfortunately
their coverage is limited to the big and middle agglomerations.
Furthermore the TV cable providers take the advantage of the
fact that they provide exclusively the triple-play service and
having in fact the significant position (the cable TV market is
not regulated in the way the fix telephony is), often need the
purchase of the TV cable services.
In Poland the situation of the development of the fiber optic
cables is even worse. Poland is far behind the most developed
countries. In the FTTx technology only the test localizations
exist (Warsaw and Lublin area). According to the Polish
regulator UKE at least 17 operators have the FTTx lines but none
of them has started the implementation of the construction of
the networks in this matter. So there were only limited chances
to change this situation in the upcoming years.
The total comparison of the development of the broadband
Internet access in the mentioned 3 technologies ( xDSL, Cable
TV, FTTx) turns out to be not optimistic. The indicators of
total penetration of services is increasing but at the slower
level than in other OECD countries. Poland is also behind the
newest development in the fiber optical cables. In conclusion,
the level of the broadband access to the Internet in Poland is
unfortunately still not satisfactory, as in comparison to the
other countries and it is estimated at the level of 12,8 % per
The Internet access situation in Poland in the broadband access
technologies to the Internet (and mostly fiber optic network),
described above was rather not optimistic. This technology
existed only as minor or test solutions. The situation was not
easy to change because:
None of the fix operators proposed any development plan
concerning the NGN networks with any specific time frame.
Local self-governments showed no interest in the development
of the fiber optic networks.
There was no infrastructural competition from the operator
of the cable TV in the scale of the whole country.
Public utility enterprises ( like energy companies) were not
interested in the development of the access technologies
supported by their infrastructure.
The society was too poor to participate in the financing of
the optical networks roll-out.
Taking the above into consideration to proper actions were introduced to
improve the existing situation.
The actions included:
the elimination of the investment barriers;
clearly defining the regulations concerning the access to
the fiber optic and the technical sewage system;
the intervention must stimulate the investment.
It was very clear that Polish budget will not be able to financially
support the investments like
it was done in the Asia region ( it would not also be in line
with the EU Law). This did not stop the Polish Government from
introducing the regulatory solution through the act on
supporting the development of telecommunications services and
networks. However, the government could take the steps
encouraging the local self governments to promote the
development of the fiber optic networks and also to promote
education of the citizens which should produce the demand for
the services which need a large transfer.
It was considered that Poland needed integrated policy concerning NGNs.
And it was identified that the state intervention shall include:
Establishment of the clear regulatory policy concerning high
In this field one of good examples was the obligation to
make the BSA on fiber optic cables accessible. The
operators shall share the cables ( additional fee shall
apply)- but with as close connectivity with the client as
possible- not at the level of the exchange or regional loop.
Establishment of the regulations concerning the access to
the actual teletechnical infrastructure. The operators shall
have the obligation to share the access to the teletechnical
infrastructure – additional fee shall apply.
Encouraging the self local governments to engage into the
development of the telecommunication infrastructure. It is
not only to raise the potential awareness but also to
provide the framework for this activity.
Assigning the budgetary funds towards the support for the
development of the next generation telecommunication
infrastructure. The total cost shall be not less than the
income from the future frequency auctions.
The obligation of providing the new apartments with the
fiber optic infrastructure.
Elimination of the barriers concerning the Access to the
Ensuring the right of way. The local self governments can
not refuse the access to the right of way to develop the
fiber optic infrastructure.
Ensuring the possibility of using the existing public and
communal infrastructure. Operators shall have the right to
use the existing public infrastructure (It should be
possible to install the fiber optic lines in savage (other
than telecommunication) or above the ground.
Providing the coordinated approach while the street
constructions or other infrastructure are performed. Those
works shall be notified to the telecommunication regulator
to ensure that the operators could at the same time place
the fiber optic infrastructure.
Setting the technical standards. The newly placed
infrastructure must be compatible with existing once.
Use of the European Funds. It should be underlined that the
use of EU funds for the telecommunication sector shall be
enlarged (for example for the identification and elimination
of the white spots).
It is important to notice that apart from point 4 those changes
do not cause the necessity of direct spending from the budgetary
funds but only shall eliminate the investment barriers.
ADSL- Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line
BSA - Bitstream Access
DSL - Digital Subscriber Line
FTTB - Fibre To The Building
FTTC - Fibre To The Cabinet
FTTH - Fibre To The Home
LLU - Local Loop Unbundling
NGA - Next Generation Access
NGN - Next Generation Network
OECD - Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
VDSL - Very High Speed DSL
WiMAX - Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access