Summary of broadband development in Lithuania
Lithuania's Next Generation Internet Access Development Plan for 2014–2020 was adopted in 2014. The broadband targets meet that of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe of 100% coverage with 30 Mbps by 2020. There are also some supportive measures to help implement the targets. The plan also includes the DAE target of having over 100 Mbps subscriptions for 50% of households by 2020. The Lithuanian Information Society Development Programme 2014-2020 Digital Agenda of the Republic of Lithuania supports the Gigabit society targets.
National broadband strategy and policy
- Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (Susisiekimo ministerija) is responsible for state policy in the area of broadband development and organisation, coordination and control of its implementation, especially in the areas where this infrastructure is not available or there is no competition in providing broadband services. The departments directly involved are the Information Society Policy Department that helps to formulate state policy in the area of broadband infrastructure development and to organise, coordinate and control its implementation, and the Budget and State Property Management Department responsible for strategic planning, funding issues and general management tasks. The Ministry acts as the national Broadband Competence Office.
- The Information Society Development Committee (Informacinės visuomenės plėtros komitetas) under the Ministry of Transport and Communications is participating in the process of shaping state policy in the development of information and communications technologies in Lithuania and coordinating its implementation.
- Public Enterprise Plačiajuostis Internetas (Broadband Internet) is a non-profit entity owned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and is responsible for the implementation of the national broadband strategy. Plačiajuostis internetas is operating a public backhaul wholesale fibre network as a wholesale operator, providing access to all interested retail operators to this network on equal terms, thus enabling retail operators to provide fast Internet access services to households, businesses, public and private institutions, including municipalities, schools, libraries, hospitals in rural areas of Lithuania.
- The Communications Regulatory Authority (Ryšių reguliavimo tarnyba) is the independent national institution that monitors and regulates Lithuania’s broadband markets.
Main aims for broadband development
The Lithuanian Information Society Development Programme 2014-2020 “Digital Agenda of the Republic of Lithuania” (approved by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No 244 of 12 March 2014) focuses on 3 major areas:
- skills and motivation of the Lithuanian citizens to use ICT,
- development of electronic content and
- evolvement of ICT infrastructure, including NGA access.
The Digital Agenda was updated in 2017 and 2019, and references to the Gigabit society targets were made. The Programme is based on the assumption that only balanced development of all these areas can lead to sustainable and rapid development of the information society and result in implementation of the Gigabit society targets and objectives envisaged in the Digital Agenda for Europe. One of the Programme goals is to ensure the development of geographically uniform high-speed broadband infrastructure and encourage the use of Internet services (Goal 5). The following measures are foreseen to achieve this goal:
- to ensure the development of the broadband electronic communication networks in the areas where the market did not ensure the infrastructure development and service provision,
- to encourage competition in the broadband communications market and the use of broadband services,
- to upgrade and develop the public internet access infrastructure in libraries.
In the area of broadband development, Lithuania’s Digital Agenda focuses on providing incentives for investments in broadband infrastructure and intervenes where market operators fail to satisfy the demand for broadband access due to a low degree of economic viability. It also gives a high priority to the stimulation of demand for fast internet access as well as the digital literacy of Lithuanians.
Lithuania's Next Generation Internet Access Development Plan for 2014 – 2020 further defines the country’s goal in this area:
- to develop next generation Internet access infrastructure in the areas in which the market fails to ensure development of this infrastructure and provision of Internet services, and
- to induce competition in broadband market and use of broadband services.
The purpose of this Plan is to define measures to be implemented by the public institutions in order to reach the broadband development goals set in Lithuanian and EU strategic documents.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications set up a working group on 5G to discuss and develop together with stakeholders the “Guidelines for the development of next generation mobile networks (5G) in the Republic of Lithuania for 2020-2025”, adopted in 2020. They guidelines contain a set of measures to facilitate the deployment of 5G in Lithuania, e.g. measures on access to sites for radio-network building.
Rules for Electronic communications infrastructure installation, maintenance and use are adopted by the Director of the Communications Regulatory Authority. Documents set basic requirements for designing, building, construction, installation or reconstruction, repair of electronic communications infrastructure as well as the design, construction and installation of new or reconstructing existing buildings (including measures of cost reduction), as far as these works are related to electronic communications infrastructure in these construction projects. Measures on procedures and conditions for common use of electronic communications infrastructure and other purposes (pipelines, cables, ducts, manholes, retaining structures, including towers, masts, buildings, structures introductions, building systems) and other facilities are under implementation.
On 15 December 2016 Lithuania adopted an amendment to the Law on Electronic Communications No. IX-2135. The Law came into force on 24 December 2016. Its implementing act, the Order of the Director of the Communications Regulatory Authority amending the Order No 1V-978 of the Director of the Communications Regulatory Authority of 14 October 2011 "On the Approval of Rules for Installation, Marking, Supervision and Use of Electronic Communications Infrastructure" was adopted on 10 January 2017 and came into force on 13 January 2017.
The Communications Regulatory Authority assumes the functions both of the single information point as well as of the national dispute settlement body. It is expected that these amendments will further improve possibilities to expand broadband infrastructure in Lithuania, as operators will have better possibilities to use alternative infrastructures for broadband development.
The State supports the development of broadband networks in rural areas that are unattractive for private investors using various funds (ERDF, EARDF) for construction of NGA networks in remote areas. The Information Society Development Committee, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications and other related institutions prepared a model for inducing broadband infrastructure development and the use of broadband services for 2014-2020, in order to combine plans, actions and investment of various stakeholders. This model was approved by the Ministry of Transport and Communication as Lithuania's Next Generation Internet Access Development Plan for 2014–2020.
National and Regional broadband financial instruments
The projects Development of Rural Area Information Technology Broadband Network (RAIN and RAIN 2) were financed by ERDF through the Economic Growth Action Programme 2007-2013. The projects developed an electronic network offering wholesale broadband services in rural areas of Lithuania that were not served. RAIN was implemented in 2005-2008 with total value of circa EUR 20 million. The value of the RAIN 2 project (2009-2014) is approximately EUR 60 million.
The PRIP project (Development of broadband network infrastructure in rural areas) was financed from EAFRD, and connected rural activities centres, such as farmer homesteads, rural tourism homesteads, or others, to fibre lines and installed network nodes in order to connect to NGA broadband networks. Approximately EUR 6 million were allocated to the project for 2014-2015.
All three projects (RAIN, RAIN 2 and PRIP) are completed. The second stage of PRIP (PRIP2) started in 2016 and closed in August 2018. As the result 342,6 kilometres of optical fibre lines were constructed and 400 agricultural sector objects were connected to existing infrastructure. About 79.000 residents will have access to new or improved IT infrastructure.
In line with its Digital Agenda, the Lithuanian Government is further planning to develop high-speed broadband communication infrastructure in areas where the market cannot ensure infrastructure development and provision of electronic services.
To improve NGA infrastructure in rural areas according to the principles and measures foreseen in Lithuania's Next Generation Internet Access Development Plan for 2014–2020, the Public Enterprise Plačiajuostis Internetas prepared RAIN 3, an investment project for the development of the high capacity networks. With active involvement of the telecommunication operators, a detailed investment plan has been developed. The supervisory committee approved the investment project on 16 August 2017. The aim of the project is to create the preconditions for the households, businesses, public institutions to connect to the high capacity networks in the areas that currently are not covered (white areas) and where the roll-out of the high capacity networks is not foreseen in the next three years. Based on the recommendations of this investment project and the map of the high capacity infrastructure, a project for roll-out of high capacity networks (EUR 43 million) is planned. The NGA infrastructure will be built and wholesale services offered to retail operators.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Lithuania
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).
The Communications Regulatory Authority developed an advanced tool for end-users for the measurement of internet access speeds which allows end-users to measure real speeds of their internet access services.
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
- Plan for the Next Generation of Internet Development for 2014-2020 in Republic of Lithuania
- Lithuanian Information Society Development Programme 2014-2020 “Digital Agenda of the Republic of Lithuania”
- Wireless internet access monitoring system