According to Akamai’s Q4 2015 rankings, Switzerland has an average connection speed of 16.2 Mbps and an average peak connection speed of 62.6 Mbps per second, thus ranking 8th in the world, after Latvia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, Sweden and, last but not least, South Korea.
How many Swiss Internet users?
According to the 2015 census, there are approximately 8,3 million people currently living in this country. Around 85.2% were connected to the Internet in 2012.
Types of Connection – Broadband and Dial-up
The Internet in Switzerland is primarily defined by broadband connections, followed by rare dial-up connections.
Local broadband access can be divided into DSL, XDSL, satellite access and fiber optic connections. DSL and Cable subscriptions are the most preferred among the local clientele, with approximately two thirds of home broadband subscriptions being offered via DSL (ADSL and VDSL respectively), the other third using Cable. Typically, satellite and/or fiber optic connections, which are better connections in essence, are considered by businesses due to their very high costs.
Dial-up – Types of Service
Dial-up, while rare, still exists in Switzerland. Typically, two types of access are offered:
- Pay-as-you-go service, mainly on a per-minute basis
- Contract service, with month-to-month commitment
Analogue and ISDN lines are used to provide dial-up Internet access. Analogue offers speeds of around 32 kbps, while ISDN, while a little more expensive, offers speeds of 64 up to 128 kbps. Prices for dial-up access in Switzerland vary considerably among providers; typically, these start at as low as $1 going up to $3 per day.
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries to live in in Europe, and this also reflects in prices for standard Internet subscriptions. As such, according to data published by Numbeo, for an Internet subscription comprising 10 Mbps of speed, on either Cable or ADSL technology, with unlimited monthly data, one would need to pay approximately $50 per month. Generally, companies tie customers to one or two-year contractual commitments, but it is not a universal practice.
The Internet infrastructure experiences fast-paced advancement owing to the fact that the local market belongs to the private sector. Important ISPs include Cablecom, DFI, Green, M-Budget, Monzoon, Sunrise, and Swisscom.
Below you can find some of the most important characteristics of the Internet in Switzerland:
1. Industry belongs to the private sector
The most important ISPs are Cablecom, DFI, M-Budget, Green, Monzoon, Sunrise and Swisscom. Much in the same way as dial-up connections, prices for broadband access provided by these companies vary considerably. For example, while Swisscom offers 5Mbps DSL subscriptions for prices starting at roughly $75 per month, Cablecom offers 20Mbps cable subscriptions starting at only $50 per month. The price discrepancy becomes more apparent as the Internet speeds increase. For example, While Green offers 50Mbps subscriptions for a whopping $160 per month, Cablecom offers the same speeds for only $55 per month, and the list goes on.
2. High costs
Switzerland being among the most expensive countries to live in in Europe and the entire world, it goes without saying that costs for Internet subscriptions can only be high. The Internet infrastructure is indeed advanced and only continues to be improved as we speak, but not as much so that it would justify the exorbitant prices outlined above. Furthermore, as in the case of the United States, broadband connections use older network infrastructure. Even though Switzerland is roughly the size of Oklahoma, and the costs to replace the current infrastructure would be infinitesimal as a result, the country doesn’t seem to be heading in that direction for the time being.
3. Virtually no restrictions on the Internet
Currently, there are no government restrictions on the Internet, or credible reports that the government is actively involved in the monitoring of Internet activity.
In November 2011, the Swiss government ruled that downloading unlicensed copies of films, music and/or video games for personal use will remain legal, as it does not present any kind of problem to copyright owners. However, those who are caught with downloading the respective copyrighted material for commercial uses, will be severely punished.