Poland assesses digital progress

13.46 Europe/London, October 17, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

PIKE 2011 – POZNAN. UPC Polska president Simon Boyd has called for the lowering of barriers to investment.

Speaking in the opening panel discussion of the 38th international conference and exhibition organised by the Polish Chamber of Electronic Communication (PIKE), he added that 80% of the operator’s homes already have access to internet services at up to 150 Mbps and almost 100% to 30 Mbps.
The remainder were located in areas that he would like to see EU funding allocated to build up networks, rather than to Poland as a whole.
Also speaking in the same discussion, Witold Grabos, the deputy head of the Polish National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), said that he would like to see the creation of consortia of telcos, ideally including the incumbent TPSA, to build new generation networks.
In his view, the construction of such networks is at present uncoordinated in the country. Grabos was also critical of the long-winded way in which DTT has been introduced in Poland and wondered about their practicality, given that only around 20% of Polish homes do not already receive pay-TV services.
Magdalena Gaj, the undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Infrastructure, was nevertheless of the view that Poland is now in a good position in terms of regulation ahead of ASO, which has been set for mid-2013.
Speaking in an opening address and also in the first panel discussion, Caroline van Weede, MD Cable Europe, said that despite being well ahead of the European targets for broadband, one of the cable industry’s weaknesses is fragmentation.
Indeed, while the number of incumbent telcos has recently fallen from 27 to 25, there are still 6,000 cable operators, as opposed to 10,000 earlier.
Consolidation is now a reality in markets such as the UK, France and Spain but still a long way off in Germany and Poland.