Making Vienna fit for the future

Austria needs to have a nationwide broadband infrastructure capable of transporting gigabits by 2025. This includes enlarging mobile 5G networks on the one hand and expanding fibre-optic networks on the other, an objective which has already been enshrined at the European level in the Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe. We will further enlarge Vienna’s fibre-optic network and thus the infrastructure for the digital age, meaning that we are supporting efforts to give every resident of Vienna fibre-optic internet access. Wien Energie currently has a fibre-optic network covering 2,800 km, and which is being continuously expanded. We will install fibre-optic connections for up to 100,000 apartments by 2030.

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Background information

Today, fibre-optic networks are just as crucial to the city’s infrastructure as the supply of energy, drinking water or waste management services. The continued expansion of Vienna’s broadband infrastructure is a crucial survival factor in terms of competition from other large European cities. Broadband networks also serve as the underlying infrastructure for future 5G and Internet of Things services, which in turn is a prerequisite for autonomous driving.

Broadband infrastructure refers to ultra-fast internet access that has a relatively high rate of data transmission. Given that the limits of conventional copper cabling are being reached, the focus on the future will be more on expanding fibre-optic networks to serve every corner of the city, an undertaking which however requires considerable amounts of investment. Fibre-optic internet connections make it possible to transmit data at speeds of over one gigabit per second, offering considerably more bandwidth compared to copper cabling. This means that they are well placed as a future-proof internet technology.

The EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe states that every private household in Europe should have an internet connection capable of download speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s, which can then be updated to the speed of a gigabit, by 2025. Urban areas and main transport links should have an uninterrupted connection to a 5G network. To this end, the EU has developed its “5G for Europe” action plan, serving as a roadmap for the rollout of the fifth generation of mobile communications.

In order to implement these strategies, the EU has amended the directive on regulating the telecommunications industry. This Electronic Communications Code must be transposed into national law by Member States by the end of 2020.

The 2030 Broadband Strategy sets out the national framework conditions to enable Austria to join the ‘gigabit community’. This was published in August 2019. The key projects outlined here are:

  • Accelerating the expansion of the fibre-optics network
  • Establishing a shared platform to evaluate the development of infrastructure
  • Simplifying approval procedures (e.g. frequency allocation)
  • Further developing funding models
Florian Schnurer

“Energy and public utility companies make a very significant contribution to achieving the goals of the Broadband Strategy 2030. This is because these companies, and above all Wien Energie, started focusing on expanding fibre-optic networks at an early stage, which now serve as the basis for mobile and fixed broadband internet as a gigabit technology.”

Florian Schnurer, General Manager of the Association of Alternative Telecommunications Networks Operators

Our demands

Wien Energie works to achieve nationwide availability for ultra-fast broadband internet, underscoring the position of fibre-optic technology as the only future-proof internet technology. However, it will not be possible to reach the objective with investments being made by (private) operators, which is why more investment incentives are needed to be able to able to help broadband internet grow. It is also very important to have greater involvement by the housing industry.

Funding must continue to be available in the future to build fibre-optic networks. Specific incentives must also be created to encourage operators to invest in networks capable of transmitting data at gigabit speeds.

The fact that the necessary infrastructure is missing in buildings (particularly empty conduits) represents a major obstacle in efforts to bring fibre-optic internet to the customer (Fibre-to-the-home). The ability to have a fibre-optic internet connection should be a standard part of any building infrastructure today, which is why we are calling for FTTH infrastructure to be included in the OIB Guideline and Vienna’s building regulations. This is necessary in order to encourage housing developers, as well as telecommunications operators, to invest in the expansion of fibre optics. It will only be possible to provide customers with fibre-optic connections quickly and sustainably in cooperation with the housing industry.

Further information

Your contact person

Lisa Henhofer
Lisa Henhofer

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