Summary of broadband development in Austria
Austria's national broadband strategy aims at full coverage of symmetric Gigabit connections (fixed and mobile) throughout the country by 2030. 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. In November 2021, the new telecommunication law based on the European Electronic Communications Code, entered into force. The law is a key pillar to create an investment-friendly environment for the private sector.
National broadband strategy and policy
- Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Regionen und Wasserwirtschaft) 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) advances 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 Competence Office (Breitbandbüro) is part of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management and 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 and citizens.
- Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications RTR (Rundfunk- und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH) acts as the NRA for regulating the telecommunication market.
Main aims for broadband development
Austria's broadband strategy 2030 was adopted in August 2019. It aims at full coverage of symmetric Gigabit connections throughout the country by 2030. In addition to the long-term objective, the 2030 strategy also includes five concrete interim goals:
- Phase 1: Full-coverage of ultra-fast broadband connections (100 Mbps) by the end of 2020
- Phase 2: Market launch of 5G in all capital cities by the end of 2020
- Phase 3: Austria as 5G pilot country until the beginning of 2021
- Phase 4: 5G services on major traffic connections by the end of 2023
- Phase 5: Nationwide Gigabit connections, including nationwide coverage of 5G, by the end of 2025
Main measures for broadband development
- The broadband atlas is the central information platform on broadband coverage in Austria. Using maps, the coverage for fixed and mobile broadband networks as well as all funded project of the broadband initiatives are made publicly accessible. All data from the broadband atlas is available for download on Open Data Austria.
- The Forum Mobile Communication (FMK) operates a transmitter infrastructure mapping (Senderkataster) covering mobile and radio transmitter stations.
- The RTR Netztest informs users about the current service quality (including upload, download, ping, signal strength) of their Internet connection. In addition, a map view and statistics of previous tests can be accessed.
- A task force, the Internet Infrastructure Austria 2030 Platform (PIA 2030), has been established to accelerate VHCN deployment. The task force will coordinate the interaction between the federal government, states, municipalities, cities, the public, authorities and the private sector and help further develop legal, regulatory and technical measures in the context of broadband deployment.
- Roadmap to implement the Connectivity Toolbox: Austria announced plans to address the decentralised permit granting procedure – responsibilities are distributed between the federal, state and local authorities. Some of the measures considered are (i) the introduction of permit exemptions, (ii) fast track procedures, and (iii) promoting the application of existing lighter procedures for granting permits with all responsible stakeholders as well as a digital administrative platform.
National broadband financial instruments
Since 2015 with the support of the State Aid programs employing funds from the proceeds of the past 4G spectrum auctions (first digital dividend), many private operators and communities invest in fibre to the home:
- 500+ funding recipients in 1,500+ projects with 1.1 billion euros in funding commitments (state, federal states and EAFRD funds),
- Six federal state owned companies founded,
- Venture capitalists entered the Austrian Telecom market,
- More than 1.1 million citizens will benefit in around 1,500 of the 2,100 municipalities,
- As part of the BBA 2020 Connect program over 300 schools and 100 SMEs will be connected to fibre.
In April 2021 the government announced that EUR 1.4 billion will be invested in the deployment of fibre in underserved regions. The funds derive from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (EUR 891 million), the proceeds of the 5G spectrum auctions (EUR 389 million) and additional EUR 166 million from the national budget. This measure addresses the Austrian backlog in the deployment of rural gigabit capable access networks and therefore supports the objectives of the Austrian Broadband Strategy 2030 and the EU Gigabit objectives.
Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRF)
Connectivity is addressed by supporting widespread deployment of gigabit-capable access networks and accounts for the largest share of the digital-related expenditure of the plan, recognising the need to increase coverage with fixed VHCN in rural areas. The funds from RRF will support roll-out of gigabit enabled access networks to 200,000 households (reaching a total coverage of 50% of households), with a budget of EUR 891 million. Austria’s RRP has a total value of EUR 4.5 billion.
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 European 5G Observatory.
National publications and press documents
- Study on National Broadband Plans
- Guide to High-Speed Broadband Investment
- Broadband Connectivity Reports and Analyses
- Mobile and fixed broadband prices in Europe
- Study on broadband coverage in Europe
- Breitbandstrategie 2030
- Breitband in Österreich - Evaluierungsbericht 2020
- Studie Open Access Netze für Österreich
- Breitband Masterplan des Landes Tirol 2019-2023
- Niederösterreich Breitbandinitiative