miércoles, 1 de julio de 2020

The Danish Broadband Society: step by step

In Denmark, 1981, were 231 computers from different Danish universities bound together by the Internet, and 10 years after the numer had increased to 300.000. In 1996 did 12 percent of the Danish population use the Internet two hours each week. 88 percent did not use the internet. In July 2007 did 83 percent of the Danish population, according to Statistics Denmark, have access to the broadband from their private homes. In a new research by Statistics Denmark in 2010 did the number increase to 91 percent of the Danish population who had access to the broadband from their personal homes.

This is why Denmark, studied here in collaboration with Nanna Torp, Peter Ullum, Karoline Neel and Amalie Arendt, is such an interesting country to look at when it comes to the broadband and the development. Denmark was one of the early adopters of broadband and Internet at the same time, and is now leading the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) with a broadband penetration rate of 29,3 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. The broadband rate signifies the amount of the Internet access market that high speed or broadband Internet has captured.

Broadband is the technical term that we use to describe which technology that gives us access to the internet. In Denmark there is three different types of technologies:

1.    Traditional broadband

2.    Mobile broadband

3.    Fiber

Traditional broadband

Traditional broadband was one of the first internet technologies in Denmark and today it is one the cheapest way for consumers to access the internet. It is the most common broadband technology in Denmark, and it works through the cellular lines – also known as the copper network, which the landline phones used to run through. The infrastructure of the copper lines was made over a hundred years ago and covers most of the country and therefore almost all Danish households can access the copper network without having new cables dug in the ground. In addition, the copper network does not require very much maintenance, which also makes it cheaper for both consumers and suppliers and that is also why this technology is widely used in Denmark.

The cellular lines in Denmark are at least of 2 Mbps, but the majority of the citizens can access an access a connection with 20 Mbps. If a household is near a broadband central, they can even access a connection with 50 Mbps.

Mobile broadband

Mobile Broadband is a wireless technology that allows us to connect a mobile broadband device such as a smartphone to a broadband connection wirelessly through the mobile network and sends the data through 4G and 3G services.

The primary reason for why Danish citizens uses mobile broadband, is that it is portable. This means that it is possible to connect from anywhere in the country which is convenient when you are on the go. As long as you have a 4G or 3G signal, you can use the internet. However, the mobile broadband is not perfect. Compared to a fixed connection through cables, this technology often has a bit more delay and limitation on data consumption. Most of the buildings and houses in Denmark are isolated very well due to the weather conditions, where the winters can be very cold. This can also affect the mobile broadband and make it more difficult for the connection to stay fast, because the walls are thick and stuffed with isolation. This is a problem in all of the Nordic countries.

Though it is still possible for Danish people to have fast internet whether it is 4G or 3G. With a liberalised market in Denmark this also includes the area of telecommunications. This is why it is the telecompanies and not the Danish state that builds and operates and builds the mobile networks. It is also the telecompanies that does the investing in the infrastructure which will lead to the future 5G-network.

5G technology - the future broadband

There is now a new generation of mobile networks on its way to Denmark which will be able to replace the currant 4G network. This is the 5G mobile network which is defined as a mobile broadband technology which fulfills the requirements and specifications made by the IMT-20201- specifications established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

This broadband technology draws on different technological progresses hereunder; new frequences - new areas of frequencies which will lead to a far bigger capacity and higher speed -; more antennas which will simply create a better network; and independent networks in which it is possible to establish independent private networks with high security. So within this technology there is the opportunities for a bigger capacity, higher speed, more security and very small response time when you are transferring data. In Denmark the 5G broadband technology has qualities that is necessary for the new digital technologies in the Danish society. These necessities will occur in production, robot technology, areas on health that requires a heavy load of data to proceed the online-experiences. Today the 5G is still on test basis in Denmark and has been tested on different companies within this capital region. The year of the release has been said to be in 2021 and will at that time be able to create a faster and safer internet in a society where data only grows and better broadband technology is crucial for the infrastructure in the digitalised society in the future.

Fiber optics

The fiber network is the latest technology in Denmark and arguably the fastest. With fiber networks it is possible to receive and send information online very fast. The information is sent through optical fiber made of glass and plastic. A traditional broadband connection can usually reach a maximum of 50 Mbit. But fiber networks can reach up to over 1000 Mbit – even though is it very rare that anyone would need such a fast connection.

In Denmark, the prices of fiber networks have changed tremendously over the past few years. At first when fiber networks were being rolled out in Denmark, it was an incredibly expensive project, and this affected the prices. Today it has become much easier to access fiber networks and therefore the price for fiber networks is much lower. This is also due to the fact that more suppliers of fiber networks have appeared on the market and that created a level of competition among the suppliers.

Law and the broadband market in Denmark

In Denmark the law has decided that every dane should have the opportunity to get a telephone connection for an affordable price. The government has made a cooperation with the company TDC to secure that. TDC therefore has a large share of the market also regarding broadband even though they do not have the duty of selling broadband. The broadband market rely on the theory of supply and demand. Broadband prices are only regulated by the competition on the market. 

TDC had about 50,4% of the market in 2018 and generally their market share has been reduced the last couple of years. They have worked on new agreements with others to offer the fibernet of those companies. They have also started their own process to create fiber network because they want to ensure that one million danish homes get their fiber network in the next 6 years. 

Denmark are one of the OECD-countries with the best broadband infrastructure. In Denmark there is the highest penetration of broadband, but if we look at our neighbours of Sweden, they have more success using fiber network with a higher speed. That is what Denmark is trying to reach now, and that is why TDC is trying to develop their fiber network.
A complete coverage of broadband can be achieved in Denmark without developmental policies. If there is use of developmental policies, it can speed up the process. So in some ways, the Swedish approach and way of doing it can inspire Denmark, but it goes both ways, because the Danish approach is thorough too.

We analyze international broadband and HbbTV evolution (here, the case of Denmark) in this blog, in Research Group about Digital Journalism and Marketing and Broadband and in Research Group on Innovative Monetization Systems of Digital Journalism, Marketing and Tourism (SIMPED), from CECABLEEscola Universitària Mediterrani of UdGUPF and Blanquerna-URL, in Twitter (@CECABLEresearch), in the group of LinkedIn, in the page of LinkedIn, in the group of Facebook, in Instagram (CECABLE), in Pinterest and in this blog. We will go in deep in the XXV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress.

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