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Summary of broadband development in Austria
Austria's national broadband target goes beyond the Digital Agenda (DAE) targets and aims at almost full coverage of ultrafast broadband throughout the country by 2020. It opts for market-driven network roll-out and intends to confine the use of public funds to where they are absolutely necessary, in particular, for areas with the least chance of benefiting from private sector investments. Amendments to the Telecommunication Act intend a nationwide supply of gigabit connections and 5G mobile communications by 2025.
National broadband strategy and policy
- Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie): the ministry is responsible for development of telecommunications policy and legislation, conducting a centralised policy on frequencies, developing state aid programs for broadband roll-out and awarding contracts for the provision of universal services.
- Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort): the ministry should further advance digitalisation and digital transformation in Austria; it is responsible for improving the framework conditions for digital transformation and for coordinating and implementing e-government solutions.
- Broadband Bureau (Breitbandbüro): part of the ministry acts as a national competence centre for communities, federal states and operators in order to promote the deployment of broadband networks in Austria. It supports federal states in their broadband development, establishes contacts between local authorities and operators and answers questions from the communities.
- Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications RTR (Rundfunk- und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH): acting as the NRA for regulating the telecommunication market.
- Austrian Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt): focusing on stimulating the information society, Digital Agenda any other ICT measures in Austria.
Main aims for broadband development
Austria's broadband strategy 2020 was adopted in November 2012. It aims to achieve 70% coverage of ultrafast-broadband (defined as 100 Mbps downstream) in metropolitan areas by 2018, coupled with a 99% coverage of ultrafast-broadband for all households in Austria by 2020.
In 2014, Austria adopted a generic implementation plan for broadband (Masterplan zur Breitbandförderung). It specifies the funding and financing time frame and instruments (e.g. laying empty ducts in areas with market failure) with 4 instruments in 3 phases. Austria aims at achieving countrywide NGA internet access. The closure of the last white areas with broadband infrastructure and in particular the establishment of NGA infrastructures is to enable the rapid spread of ultra-fast broadband services, which demonstrates an impetus for growth in rural areas. The government has made available the EUR 1 billion gained from the frequency auction for NGA deployment via the Breitband Austria 2020 (BBA 2020) funding scheme.
Austria has also established a Digital Roadmap, which provides an overview of the current challenges and existing and planned measures and activities based on twelve guiding principles for shaping the digitisation process in Austria.
In addition to the broadband strategy, Austrian officials have prepared supplementary documents. The planning guide (Planungsleitfaden Breitband, Planungsleitfaden Indoor), clarify technical issues involved in infrastructure roll-out. A study on essential training measures (Bedarfs- und Akzeptanzanalyse) builds a basis for an advisory board to develop new education and on-the-job training models and info brochures help mayors and small enterprises to implement broadband projects.
With amendments to the Telecommunication Act and a number of other laws, the Federal Government wants to create the necessary framework conditions for the nationwide expansion of the broadband network in Austria by 2025.
Austria's 5G Strategy was issued in April 2018 and aims at achieving the rollout of the 5G mobile communications standard with optimised framework conditions, and aims at harnessing the associated opportunities for citizens, the economy, industry and science. In the first phase, first pre-commercial 5G trial installations were implemented by mid-2018. In the second phase, the rollout of 5G in all provincial capitals is planned. A third phase will bring 5G service availability to main traffic routes by the end of 2023 and a nationwide 5G availability by the end of 2025.
Main measures for broadband development
- Broadband mapping: Austria has a transmitter infrastructure mapping (Senderkataster) covering mobile and radio transmitter stations. The broadband bureau established the broadband atlas based on the operators data in the beginning of March 2014. Amendments to the Austrian telecommunication act provide the legal basis for the collection and utilisation of better broadband coverage geodata in order to gain more precise analyses of broadband coverage. The atlas is updated every 6 months. Broadband coverage in Austria has been made transparent through the data collection and the presentation tool RTR Netztest.
National and regional broadband financial instruments
In achieving the targets, Austria’s broadband strategy 2020 (particularly the Masterplan zur Breitbandförderung) has set different types of instruments (funding programmes), financed by EUR 1 billion from the frequency auction:
- BBA 2020-Access: This funding instrument stimulates investments in the extension of broadband access networks to gradually achieve a substantial improvement in broadband penetration of households and enterprises.
- BBA 2020-Backhaul: The focus of this funding framework is the modernisation of existing backhaul facilities to provide NGA networks with sufficient capacity. Accordingly, it results in renewal of existing networks and the connection of base stations ("backhaul").
- BBA 2020-Empty ducts: This funding programme primarily aims at municipalities where high-speed broadband access is not available. The inclusion of empty pipes during municipal civil engineering work will enable the subsequent supply of broadband and the construction costs will be reduced.
- BBA 2020 Connect: This funding call promotes the fibre optic network connections for schools and small and medium-sized enterprises with a funding volume of EUR 30 million.
- BBA 2020-AT (Austrian Electronic Network): The AT:net funding programme has been re-launched by the Federal Chancellery as part of its initiative Promoting Digital Innovation (Digitale Innovation fördern). This programme promotes the use of innovative services and applications based on broadband.
The AT:net programme of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs promotes the market launch and establishment of digital applications and digital products.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Austria
For the latest data on broadband coverage, subscriptions and penetrations, coverage of different broadband technologies and costs check the scoreboard reports and the country reports of the Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI).
Spectrum assignments for wireless broadband
For details on harmonised spectrum assignments consult the study on Spectrum assignments in the EU.
National publications and press documents
- 5G Strategy Austria
- Study on National Broadband Plans in the EU-28
- Guide to High-Speed Broadband Investment
- Broadband Connectivity Reports and Analyses
- Europe's Digital Progress Report 2017
- Fixed broadband prices in Europe 2017
- Study on broadband coverage in Europe 2017
- 5G Strategie Österreich
- Nationale Breitbandstrategie
- Masterplan zur Breitbandförderung
- Breitband in Österreich - Evaluierungsbericht 2014
- Wegweiser für den Ausbau Ihrer Infrastruktur
- Planungsleitfaden Breitband
- Breitbandstrategie des Landes Kärnten
- Breitband Masterplan des Landes Tirol
- Niederösterreich Breitbandinitiative