Summary of broadband development in Lithuania
Lithuania's Plan for the ultra-fast broadband development from October 2021, aims to provide internet speed of at least 100 Mbps for households and public institutions in cities and rural areas by 2027. 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, coordination and control of its implementation, especially in 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 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 all interested retail operators access 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 plan for ultra-fast broadband development was launched by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in October 2021. The plan will speed up the implementation of electronic communications infrastructure so that in the period 2021-2027 internet speeds of at least 100 Mbps should reach households and public institutions not only in big cities, but also in rural areas. €75 million will be allocated for the development of ultra-fast Internet access. This funding will be used to build communication towers and lay fibre optic lines. When planning investments, the main public and economic activity spaces and public institutions will be considered and connected to the broadband network.
In October 2021, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, together with public sector institutions and telecommunications service operators, signed a memorandum by which all parties agreed to achieve 100 Mbps connection speed availability to at least 95% of Lithuanian households by 2025.
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 of 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 contribute to 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.
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. The 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. A memorandum on 5G development in Lithuania, signed in October 2021, pledges that by 2025 international land transport corridors Via Baltica & Rail Baltica would offer uninterrupted 5G connection services. A 5G investment project is being prepared by Plačiajuostis internetas.
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.
In its roadmap to implement the Connectivity Toolbox, Lithuania plans to enhance transparency of existing infrastructure and civil works with a new national web-based geographic information system. It intends to develop guidelines to facilitate legal, technical and administrative conditions for mobile operators and apply a flexible authorisation regime, with a focus on local licensing, infrastructure sharing or other market needs for the 26 GHz band.
National and regional broadband financial instruments
The State supports the development of broadband networks in rural areas that are unattractive for private investors using various funds (ERDF, EARDF, RRF) for construction of very high capacity networks in remote areas.
The Lithuanian Recovery and Resilience Plan pledges €49 million for Infrastructure investments, including the building of 50 new towers, rolling out 2,000 km of fibre and related active equipment with appropriate maintenance and administration. These investments should provide gigabit speed to 5,000 digitally intensive enterprises/institutions. In addition, internet service providers in white areas should be able to increase the speed of their last-mile services.
An investment project High-speed communication infrastructure is being prepared. The project aims to connect 5,000 locations to gigabit speeds in the areas where these services would not be provided on a commercial basis. The measure is to be supported from the RRF funds under the integrated "New Generation Lithuania" plan, prepared by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, the component "Digital transformation for economic growth" includes investments C.1.5.2 "Step towards 5G". 1.5.2 Sub-Measure 2 "Further Development of Ultra High Bandwidth Networks". The investment project is being prepared by the supplier selected through public procurement - Starkodas, UAB and an application for funding from the RRF is to be submitted.
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
- Spartaus plačiajuosčio ryšio plėtros planas
- Lithuanian Information Society Development Programme 2014-2020 “Digital Agenda of the Republic of Lithuania”
- Wireless internet access monitoring system