The largest domestic operator O2 will increase the price of fixed internet from September. A report from July indicated that the residents of the Czech Republic can begin to say goodbye to the cheap connection of the past. Not even a month has passed and the Lupa.cz server came up with information that another giant, T-Mobile, is also planning to raise prices from October.
The last of the big three providers – Vodafone – responded to Seznam Zpráv’s inquiry that this step is not currently on the agenda. On the contrary, it offers its customers a discount. Nevertheless, even this operator kept free space. “If the situation, for example on the energy market, does not improve, we will have to somehow take it into account in the future,” company spokesman Ondřej Luštinec told the editorial board.
Fixed internet in the Czech Republic still has room to increase in price. According to the analysis of the European Commission for the year 2021, the Czechia is among the countries with a relatively cheap connection.
The map below shows inclusion in the price baskets according to Seznam Správ calculations. For a detailed breakdown by the European Commission, click on the arrow at the bottom of the chart. You can find the entire report of the European Commission, including the procedures, here.
The cheapest connection offers in the Czech Republic in terms of purchasing power parity are even below the EU average.
Jiří Grund, president of the Association of Mobile Network Operators (APMS), cites a large number of providers as one of the reasons why connection is cheap in the Czech Republic. “We are unique in the Czech Republic – there are the most small local Internet connection providers (so-called ISPs) in Europe. We have thousands of them, in neighboring countries it is one or two orders of magnitude less,” he explains.
“A large number of small players is good for low-cost low-cost services. However, when your household starts to get serious about digitization, the family wants to watch Netflix on three TVs at the same time, you will find that you need a better quality connection – ideally an optical one,” he adds.
And here comes the problem. Internet is cheap but slow in the Czech Republic. Compared to Europe, we are well below the average, in less populated areas we are even second to last with seven percent. Only Greece is worse off.
At the same time, the European Commission plans for 100 percent of households in all countries to be connected to high-speed Internet by 2030.
Jiří Grund is skeptical about the plans. “Without a significant change in the bureaucracy, this is unrealistic. The paradox is that, for example, our members – large mobile operators – would like to invest tens of billions of crowns in building optical networks in our country,” he claims. “It’s just that the inefficient state and the overgrown bureaucracy are senselessly holding back their construction plans. To illustrate, the administration for laying an optical cable in Germany takes two to six months, in the Czech Republic two years is no measure. We need to untangle ourselves administratively.”
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The percentage of households with high-speed Internet is therefore increasing, but it is mainly in cities. And compared to other countries, there is still a lot of catching up to do here. “We have to respect physical and economic rules. We are continuously expanding our network to more remote locations,” explains Luštinec from Vodafone. He also referred to an announcement the company published along with T-Mobile in mid-March. The operators plan to build optical Internet connections for less than a million households together.
“After the completion of the project, Vodafone will offer a multi-gigabit connection to more than half of Czech households. At the same time, we will continue to improve the parameters of our existing network,” said the CEO of domestic Vodafone Petr Dvořák at the time. “We want to contribute to the Czech Republic becoming one of the most developed countries in the world. And for that, quality networks are needed.”
APMS President Jiří Grund, however, recalls a current problem that is not avoided even by building optical networks. “In the current crisis around inflation and energy, any systemic solution is priority number 35 for the government. The good news is that when the situation calms down, everyone will finally understand how important any infrastructure is to the national security and stability of the country.”
The coverage of the Czech Republic by broadband networks according to speed is shown, for example, by this map of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The white places on the map are those where the resort directs subsidy support in order to improve the situation.