Summary of broadband development in Czech Republic
The National Plan for the Development of Very High Capacity Networks defines the strategic approach of the Czech Republic to the construction of VHCN. Through targeted public support, the focus will be on backhaul and access networks.
National broadband strategy and policy
- The Ministry of Industry and Trade (Ministerstvo průmyslu a obchodu) is the main responsible authority for broadband strategy and policies.
- The Ministry of the Interior (Ministerstvo vnitra) has tasks dedicated to eGovernment, electronic signature and the digitisation of the state administration.
- The Ministry of Transport (Ministerstvo dopravy) is involved in the implementation of the national broadband plan.
- The Czech Telecommunication Office (Český telekomunikační úřad) performs regulation, data collection and related statistics concerning the country’s broadband development.
Main aims for broadband development
The National Plan for the Development of Very High Capacity Networks was approved on 1 March 2021. The plan indicates the necessary preconditions facilitating investment in very high capacity networks as well defining strategic procedures for the construction of these networks and, at the same time, provides direct support from public sources while minimizing interference in the market.
The plan sets strategic goals and priorities for the development of VHCN:
- Construct of a robust, secure and reliable infrastructure for electronic communications (VHCN) primarily for all socio-economic drivers as well as areas with no such infrastructure.
- Create conditions for ensuring high-speed internet access via the VHCN in both rural and urban areas: a) access to download speeds of at least 100 Mbps, with possibility to upgrade to 1 Gbps for all households, b) access to minimum gigabit speeds (symmetrical) for businesses, state administration, local self-governments and socio-economic entities.
- Create suitable conditions for construction of non-public VHCN networks
- Create suitable conditions for high-speed Internet access for households in rural areas with extremely difficult possibilities to operate electronic communications networks, e.g. in areas where the expected operating revenues do not cover operating costs for operators.
- Create suitable conditions for connecting municipalities to VHCN
- Ensure optimal development of 5G networks in all urban and rural areas and along the main transport corridors.
- Create suitable conditions for further coverage of the territory of the Czech Republic by mobile services in sparsely populated areas.
- Create suitable conditions for the coverage of railway corridors, including tunnels, by mobile networks.
- Provide targeted support from public funds for the roll-out of VHCN in accordance with the principle of technological neutrality in white areas where operators do not plan to invest in such infrastructure.
- Look for possibilities to cover the operating costs, especially of socio-economic drivers.
The Czech Republic has already developed a backbone optical infrastructure network to the level of district cities, so further development and potential subsidy support will be directed primarily at the absent backhaul connections and access parts of the networks. For this reason, support from public sources will be directed to the two hierarchically lowest levels of the network, to create interconnection points that would have sufficient capacity to ensure strategic goals, and to build access networks with parameters of VHCN networks (ideally using optical infrastructure).
Digital Czech Republic 3 was adopted in 2018 and is composed of a set of concepts that ensures long-term prosperity of the Czech Republic in the environment of the ongoing digital revolution. This strategy consists of the top goals of three partial strategies: (1) Interaction of the Czech Republic in the European Union in the digital agenda field, (2) Digital public administration and (3) The preparation and interaction of the Czech Republic's society and economy for the consumption of digitalisation.
The strategic document Implementation and Development of 5G Networks in the Czech Republic was approved in January 2020. It sets out a national strategy of 5G deployment in the coming years. It is part of the Digital Czech Republic concept and the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic 2019-2030.
Measures and financing instruments
Broadband mapping: an infrastructure mapping website has been established by the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU). Mapping is provided at the level of so-called "basic settlement units". For these units, the evaluation is made whether the location is suitable for public subsidy. In terms of coverage mapping, three bandwidth groups are differentiated: up to 30 Mbps, 30-100 Mbps, 100 Mbps and more. The existing and planned networks (forecast for 3 years) are to be included in the database.
The National Plan for the Development of Very High Capacity Networks estimates an investment gap for backhaul and access networks at CZK 15.3 billion (EUR 0.58 billion). Based on the 75% co-financing rate, the planned public support is circa CZK 11.5 billion. The plan foresees both supply and demand side measures. Use of funds from several funding sources is foreseen: Integrated Regional Operational Program (IROP) 2021-2027, Connecting Europe Facility Program (CEF 2), Digital Europe Programme, Just Transformation Fund (JTF), InvestEU and RRF.
An important aspect of the National Plan for the Development of Very High Capacity Networks is an infrastructure coverage map, which indicates areas with no access to very high capacity networks and where private operators do not intend to build them.
Roadmap for the Implementation of the Connectivity Toolbox: the number of reforms is identified, for example to bring in permit exemptions and fast-track procedures for network deployment, to promote the use of electronic permit application processes and of the parallel conciliation mechanism in the event of disputes over access to infrastructure.
Recovery and Resilience Plan: Component 1.3 of the plan outlines reforms and investments in connectivity, with a total budget of around EUR 227 million. Investments in VHCNs target remote areas where market-based solutions are not profitable. 23.000 new units should gain access to Gigabit connectivity by 2026. The measures planned are expected improve digital technical maps, connectivity quality monitoring and bring in legislation to facilitate broadband deployment. Component 1.3 aims to develop the 5G ecosystem for 5G technology on transport corridors, including cross-border sections. The RRP foresees equipping 350 railway wagons with repeaters or passive walls for 5G signals. The plan is expected to stimulate research in 5G applications, in particular for the automotive sector. 5G should also be rolled out to remote regions.
Data on broadband development and technologies in the Czech Republic
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
- Integrated Regional Operational Programme (2021-2027)
- Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovations for Competitiveness 2014-2020
- 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