Summary of broadband development in Croatia
The National Plan for Broadband Development 2021-2027 aims at providing the download speeds of at least 100 Mbps to all households with the possibility to upgrade to 1 Gbps, and 1 Gbps for government offices and public buildings such as schools and health facilities. The 5G networks are to cover all main cities and towns and major highways.
National broadband strategy and policy
- The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure (Ministarstvo mora, prometa i infrastrukture) is the central state administrative body with expertise and responsibility for administrative tasks in the area of electronic communications including broadband policy and strategy. Through the Directorate for air traffic, electronic communications and postal services, it is in charge of preparing proposals for strategies, studies, guidelines, programmes and implementation plans. It establishes the general principles and objectives of the policy for the development of electronic communications networks and services, including broadband infrastructure.
- The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (Ministarstvo regionalnoga razvoja i fondova Europske unije) is managing two national EU-funded NGN schemes, the Framework National Programme for the Development of Broadband Access Infrastructure and the National Programme for Backhaul Broadband Infrastructure Development.
- The Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries HAKOM (Hrvatska regulatorna agencija za mrežne djelatnosti) ensures market competition, stable growth and environment for innovations in the electronic communications and postal services market.
Main aims for broadband development
The government of the Republic of Croatia adopted the National Plan for Broadband Development 2021-2027 in March 2021. The plan responds to the European Gigabit Society objectives 2025, partially the 2030 digital targets and the 5G for Europe Action Plan. The Croatian plan aims to provide connectivity with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps to all households, while providing government offices and public buildings such as schools and health facilities with symmetric connections of at least 1 Gbps. It also seeks 5G networks in all main cities and towns and along major highways.
Main measures for broadband development
Broadband mapping: HAKOM has developed and updates a central mapping tool, Interactive GIS portal, which provides information about the availability of broadband access, a consolidated plan of mobile communications infrastructure as well as publications of intents for deployment and bandwidth speeds.
National broadband financial instruments
The National Framework Programme for the Development of Broadband Backhaul Infrastructure in Areas Lacking Sufficient Commercial Interest for Investments (ONP) is a national (umbrella) broadband state aid scheme. Besides general state aid rules, ONP also brings guidelines for local municipalities for implementation of individual projects within ONP. The total estimated (maximum) funding at the national level for the framework programme amounts to EUR 257.9 million, of which EUR 123.1 million is to be financed from ERDF and the remaining EUR 134.8 million to be covered by the EIB loan. Both sources of funding (ERDF and EIB loan) represent grants for public authorities at local and regional level (cities, municipalities and counties). It is expected that the contribution of private funds in co-financing NGA broadband networks during the implementation of the Programme will amount to EUR 120 million. The average annual budget of the Programme in 2016 - 2023 amounts to EUR 31.5 million. The Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (HAKOM) has been determined as a holder of the ONP.
The national programme for broadband backhaul infrastructure (NP-BBI) covers state aid measures for backhaul portion of NGN network in white areas and aims at developing the national NGN broadband backhaul, as a network segment interconnecting NGA networks and national core networks. The Programme was endorsed by the European Commission and will be carried out through a public investment model. The passive fibre infrastructure will be designed and built and retained in permanent public ownership. After the infrastructure is built, it will be offered to operators on the market at equal terms. Based on the results of public consultations, the Programme aims to cover at least 540 settlements, which are initially prioritised and set as targeted settlements (at least 25% of population), located in suburban and rural areas of Croatia. The overall estimated (maximum) budget of the measure is EUR 101.4 million, of which EUR 86.2 million (85%) will be funded by ERDF and the remaining EUR 15.2 million (15%) by national funds. The annual budget of the scheme amounts to EUR 14.5 million for the period 2017-2023.
Within the new Partnership agreement and new Operational programme “Competitiveness and Cohesion”, two activities are proposed for the period 2021-2027:
- Next generation broadband infrastructure scheme: Construction of a next generation broadband ‘backhaul’ infrastructure, along with connections to end-users, will support access speeds of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps). The scheme covers 540 priority settlements which each have more than 1.000 inhabitants, plus around 5.800 smaller settlements. All the places covered by the investment are demographically, socially and economically below the national average. Around 5.650 km of fibre will be installed. Where possible, existing ducts will be used, though it is estimated that new ducts will be required for approximately 45% (about 2.450 km) of the deployed fibre. The scheme is split into two units: one covers construction of the next generation network backhaul infrastructure; the other covers connection of public administrations to the fibre infrastructure. Total investment for the scheme is EUR 129,1 million, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 86,2 million through the “Competitiveness and Cohesion” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Use of Information and Communication Technologies”. Croatia contributes EUR 42,5 million.
- Investments in the deployment of very high capacity networks in NGA white and grey NGA areas to end users in accordance with the Program for support of the Digital Connectivity, with Croatia’s contribution of EUR 57,5 million.
The Croatian Recovery and Resilience Plan includes connectivity measures to strengthen connectivity as a cornerstone of the digital transition of society and the economy. Worth around EUR 106 million, they aim to provide VHCN connectivity services in line with the EU Gigabit Society objectives 2025:
- 100 Mbps services to 100,000 Croatian households (700,000 inhabitants) in 20 projects in as many local government units, to overcome in particular the connectivity barrier to teleworking and distance learning, especially in rural areas and among vulnerable groups such as students from disadvantaged families or those with disabilities,
- 1 Gbit services to all major socio-economic drivers such as schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, hospitals, public administrative authorities and businesses.
Other RRF investments of about EUR 20 million will target: (i) building passive electronic communications infrastructure to provide access to VHCN and 5G services in rural and sparsely populated areas where there are no the market conditions to attract private investment’; and (ii) 5G coverage in urban areas and the main terrestrial transport routes (5G corridors). About 55% of the households covered by these measures are in rural areas, 26% are in suburban areas, and only 19% in urban areas. About EUR 400,000 will be invested in reform activities on reduction of barriers and guidelines for construction and permit granting as well as harmonisation procedures.
In its roadmap to implement the Connectivity Toolbox, Croatia announced plans to address the main obstacles to efficient VHCN deployment, such as planning restrictions, faster procedures to rights of way, and the need to establish a coordination body for permit handling and draw up guidelines for application of fees.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Croatia
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
- Investment scheme Construction of National Next Generation Network Broadband Backhaul Infrastructure and Connecting the Targeted End-users within a Group of Public Administration Bodies to the Next Generation Access Broadband Infrastructure
- Croatia - country reports on performances in digitisation: connectivity, digital skills, digital public services and more
- 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
- Nacionalni plan razvoja širokopojasnog pristupa u Republici Hrvatskoj u razdoblju od 2021. do 2027. godine
- Okvirni nacionalni program za razvoj infrastrukture širokopojasnog pristupa (ONP)