Internet Penetration Rates
Currently, Poland has a population of approximately 39 million people. Of these, 80,4% used the Internet in 2016 (75,7% broadband, 4.7% other types of connections).
Main Types of Access to the Internet
The Internet infrastructure in Poland is primarily defined by the existence of broadband connections. Two types of connections constitute broadband access in Poland: ADSL and Cable.
Main ISPs in Poland
The Internet industry in Poland experiences fast-paced advancement thanks to the fact it belongs to the private sector. There are many companies in Poland that provide Internet access, each specializing in one of the two types of connections (ADSL and Cable), but usually not both. Major names include: Orange Polska, Netia, UPC, ASTER, HETAN and KORBANK.
ADSL Access – Who Provides It?
There are two main types of ADSL services in Poland: Neostrada and Net24, coupled with a business-only DSL TP service.
Neostrada is provided by Orange Polska, and is one of the most heavily-subscribed to services in Poland.
Net24, another ADSL service, is provided by Orange’s main competitor, Netia, and can be installed on ISDN lines. While this company directly competes with Orange, it should be noted that it does not own its own lines but leases them from other ISPs, including Orange itself.
In addition to the two main services, there are other few less popular ADSL services provided by different ISPs. These are Multimo and DialNET DSL.
Multimo is provided GTS Energis for TP customers via BSA (Bit-stream Access), while DialNET DSL is provided by Dialog, now a subsidiary of Netia.
Cable Access – Who Provides It?
Main cable providers in Poland include UPC, ASTER, HETAN and KORBANK.
As of 2013, UPC has been providing high-speed optical fiber access to the Internet. A basic subscription to this service comprises speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps. These plans are available nationwide. Another type of subscription, which is available only in select locations (Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow), comprises speeds of 250 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Temporary lack of proper infrastructure is the reason this type of subscription is not available nationwide at the moment.
HETAN provides stationary Internet via Satellite to the entire Poland, but unlike other companies, this one specializes in providing services to private and business customers exclusively. Speeds range from 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps downlink, and 2 Mbps and 6 Mbps uplink respectively.
KORBANK specializes in providing FTTX and ETH access to the Internet. This company allows subscribers to connect and use computer-based telecommunications networks using independent Internet connections with high quality and transmission capacity, digital telephony and next-gen TV. However, services provided by this company do not have national coverage, but only for the Lower Silesia and Masovia regions.
Below you can find some of the most important characteristics of the Internet in Poland:
1. Industry belongs to the private sector
The internet industry in Poland belongs to the private sector, and is divided between a few ISPs. Major names include: Orange Polska, Netia, UPC, ASTER, HETAN and KORBANK. Each specializes in providing a specific service, typically ADSL or Cable, but usually not both.
A common characteristic of all the aforementioned companies is that services are provided in the form of triple play, which means that Internet is provided with television and telephone for a single payment each month.
2. Internet is among the most expensive in Europe
According to latest stats published by Eurostat and OECD, Internet in Poland is among the most expensive in all Europe. This is mostly caused by lack of competitiveness of the market and lack of know-how. The traditional nomenclature affords to maintain high prices for their services due to the aforementioned factors, but newer operators, such as Dialog and GTS Energis, have recently started deploying their own lines and can thus offer more attractive and cheaper service, which also forces traditional providers to lower their prices, but not that noticeably.
3. Limited Internet censorship and surveillance.
Currently, there are no government restrictions on access to the Internet, nor credible reports that the government monitors day-to-day activities of Internet users without obtaining a warrant beforehand. The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. However, although not explicitly mentioned, freedom of speech on the Internet is somewhat limited. A relevant case is the 2012 accusation levelled at the creator of the website Antykomor.pl, who would actively satirize President Komorowski. Found guilty, he was sentenced at 15 months of restricted liberty and 600 hours of community service.
The web hosting industry in Poland is developed, and divided between many companies. However, companies do not seem to cater to an international clientele, since support for English or other internationally-spoken is very limited, if not inexistent altogether. The offering of each company generally comprises core hosting services, such as Shared, VPS or Dedicated Hosting, which can be complemented with additional services such as SSL certificates, website builders and/or antispam solutions, at very affordable prices. In spite of the fact that support for international languages is limited, a few international customers looking for offshore hosting in Poland are present, as attested by reviews left for these companies. All payments are usually handled in local currency (PLN).