The development of the information society and economy open to knowledge is perceived as an essential factor of improving economy competition within each country. This notion is reflected in the most important strategic documents and initiatives of the European Union, such as: the Lisbon Strategy, eEurope 2005 or i2010. The development of the information society has a crucial meaning for elimination of differences on the level of socio and economic development between particular countries of the European Union, and also between particular regions of those countries.
Also in Poland the development of broadband Internet infrastructure and services is in the centre of attention of the government as a necessary component of creating information society and economy based on knowledge as well as a factor that supports economic development and ensuring improvement of citizens' qualify of life. Therefore, the main goal of the national institutions, including the Office of Electronic Communications, is to support all initiatives that may increase the degree of market satisfaction with access to broadband Internet in Poland. Within the scope of infrastructure development, used to provide broadband Internet, Poland, and in particular provinces of Eastern Poland, occupy the very last positions in Europe. Moreover, comparing the potential of broadband Internet services market it should be remembered that in the West the term "broadband" is used only in case of bandwidth from 1 Mbit/s, despite the fact that the European Commission has not yet changed the definition and still a line of 144 kbit/s and more is considered a broadband Internet service.
Despite low position in the ranking, market of broadband Internet access in Poland is currently one of the most dynamically developing telecommunications segment, and this development continued in 2008 and the beginning of 2009. During the analysed half year, i.e. from June 2008 to January 2009:
the number of all broadband lines increased by over 656 thousand,
the number of lines, on which alternative operators provide the BSA services, increased by over 173 thousand,
access to Internet in fixed networks reached the level of 11.7 per cent ,
mobile telephony operators noted an increase in the number of modems by over 330 thousand, the dynamics of change in the number of modems reached over 45 per cent,
the penetration rate for service of access to Internet via modems offered by mobile networks operators reached 2.8 per cent,
TP S.A. noted a decrease of shares in the market of broadband Internet access by over 5 percentage points,
mobile telephony operators gained 1.5 percentage point.
The following review shows the most recent data concerning the broadband market, shares of operators in this market and technologies of access to the Internet in Poland. Moreover, the shares of particular technologies of access to the Internet were also discussed in this analysis. The following technologies were taken into consideration:
- xDSL (x Digital Subscriber Line) - collective term for all digital technologies of subscriber lines that use many modulation schemes in data transmission via symmetrical or asymmetrical copper lines.
- Cable access (HFC - Hybrid fibre-coaxial) - technology used by cable television operators to data transmission using a hybrid optical fibre network and different types of coaxial cables. A network built in the HFC system consists mainly of two parts: a bus constituting a trunk tree and a feeder circuit.
- Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) - is a bidirectional data transmission channel with use of radio access. This technology is based on the use of base stations and terminal stations installed in subscribers' locations. Due to the frequency of used radio channels many times this technology requires "line-of-sight" between a base station and a terminal station. Fixed wireless access is currently used in larger agglomerations.
- Fibre-optic access FTTx (for example FTTC, FTTH, FTTB) - this technology is used mainly in order to provide services of fast, symmetrical data transmission. The letter "x" in the FTTx abbreviation means place, to which an optical fibre was led, for example to a street cabinet (FTTC - Fibre to the Cabinet) or to a house (FTTH - Fiber to the Home) or to a building (FTTB - Fibre to the Building). This technology allows to obtain very large bandwidths from 10 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s to an end-user.
- LAN Ethernet - standard of fast local network based on modification of currently functioning Ethernet standard with data transmission speed up to 10 Mb/s.
- WiFi - set of standards created to build wireless computer networks. The special use of WiFi is to build local network (LAN) based on radio communication WLAN.
- WLAN (Wireless LAN) - is a wireless local network, in which connections between network devices are realised without wires. Those types of networks are usually produced with the use of microwaves as a medium to transfer signals or with the use of infrared.
- HiS (Home Internet Solution) - is a digital technology that allows to transmit data via telephone line with bandwidth of 115 kbit/s. It is a technology, which practically ceased to be used in provisions of Internet access services. Currently it is used in a very small scope, only by TP S.A.
- GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) - communications technology used in GSM networks to package data transmission. This technology allows connecting to the Internet and package data transmission with variable speed about of 56 kbit/s. Data transmission speed depends on the CS (Coding Schema) class.
- EDGE - (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) - a technology used in GSM network to data transmission. It is an extension for the GPRS technology (apart from the term EDGE, EGPRS - Enhanced GPRS is also used), its radio interface was also improved thanks to which a triple improvement of bit rate and a possibility of dynamic change of sending packages depending on transmission conditions was obtained.
- UMTS - (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, pol. Uniwersalny System Telekomunikacji Ruchomej) - currently, it is the most popular standard of the third generation mobile telephony. Networks built on this standard offer its users the possibility to make voice calls, video calls, send text messages and transmit data.
- HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) - functionality of mobile phones networks built in the UMTS standard that allows to transmit data from a network to a terminal with bit rate up to 7.2 Mbit/s.
- HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) - functionality of mobile phones networks built in the UMTS standard that allows to transmit data from a terminal to a network with bit rate up to 1.92 Mbit/s.
This compilation includes all telecommunications operators who provide access to broadband Internet in particular technologies. Information presented in this document was divided into 3 thematic blocks:
1. general characteristics of the broadband market in Poland (access in fixed and mobile networks);
2. fixed (cable) access to broadband Internet (provided by fixed telephony operators and mobile telephony operators based on the BSA offer);
3. wireless access to broadband Internet provided by mobile networks operators.
This report includes changes that occurred on the market of broadband services between June 2008 and January 2009.
Only Polish version is legaly binding, the English one serves only for information purposes.