Netia is embarking on a major ultrafast broadband upgrade in Poland.
- Netia plans to makes 100Mbps+ ultrafast fixed broadband available to 2.55 million premises, from the current 792,000, by 2026.
- Between the third quarter of 2016 and 2020 it will invest around PLN417 million ($104.6 million) in broadband upgrades.
- Netia says that currently 16% of the 792,000 premises covered by 100Mbps+ broadband are paying subscribers. It plans to reach 26% penetration within the next 7-8 years.
Netia’s next-generation access network (NGA) covers around 1.5 million premises through a variety of technologies: DOCSIS 3.0, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) and VDSL. At the end of last year it had 756,469 fixed broadband subscriptions, of which 425,399 were provisioned over its own network, 204,268 through bitstream access and 126,802 through local loop unbundling (LLU). Of the 425,399 subscriptions delivered over its own network, 154,421 were NGA or ultrafast connections, supporting advertised download rates of at least 30Mbps.
Both competition and uptake of ultrafast broadband in Poland is intensifying. Last year, Orange Poland, the country’s largest fixed broadband operator, reached 316,000 ultrafast fixed broadband subscriptions (supporting download rates of 30Mbps and upwards), up 82% over 2014. Netia itself experienced a 51% increase in ultrafast (30Mbps+) broadband subscriptions to 154,421. There’s much room for growth: only 15% of Orange’s fixed broadband customers (excluding CDMA) and 20% of Netia’s had adopted ultrafast.
Increasingly, Poland’s operators are focussing on the 100Mbps+ opportunity: among the major operators, Orange offers the fastest speed (within its FTTP footprint): up to 600Mbps, exceeding the 500Mbps offered by Multimedia Polska and the 250Mbps by UPC Poland. Currently, Netia’s premium broadband offering provides speeds of 100Mbps, so it’s plan to upgrade and expand its network to support rates of between 100Mbps and 1Gbps will enable it to compete on speed with its rivals. The upgrade will also bring the added benefit of reducing its reliance on Orange Poland, to which Netia pays wholesale fees to offer bitstream and LLU-based access to its customers.
While Netia needs to invest to compete, it is taking a cautious approach to its investment plans beyond 2020. Demand for 100Mbps is growing rapidly, driven by the adoption of streaming services and update of multiple connected devices (such as tablets, smartphones), but demand for the very highest speeds is limited, even in the most developed markets. For instance, in Sweden, less than 1% of fixed broadband subscriptions were on 1Gbps+ at the end of June 2015 (according to the country’s Post and Telecom Authority).