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36 | June 2008 | www.wimax-vision.com/subscribe
Ustka
Netia was only awarded 14MHz of spectrum—a
Gdynia
pair of duplex channels in the 3.6GHz to 3.7GHz
frequency band, each comprising 2x3.5MHz—the
intention was to use WiMAX to compete head-
Swinoujscie
Gdansk
on in the broadband market with TP, Poland’s
incumbent.
Szczecin
Up until the point when Netia was allocated its
two slivers of WiMAX spectrum, the regulator had
Bydgoszcz
not obliged TP to off er either wholesale bit-stream
Bialystok
products or local loop unbundling to its competi-
tors. TP, to all intents and purposes, had the coun-
Poznari Warsaw
try’s consumer broadband market pretty much all
to itself in the absence of any large-scale alternative
last-mile infrastructure providers.
Netia therefore took the view that by using
WiMAX in the last mile, in combination with
Wroclaw
Lublin
its 5,000km fi bre-optic network connecting the
Radom
country’s largest cities and local access networks, it
was the best way to enter the country’s residen-
tial broadband market. (Netia’s initial eff orts to
Katowice
capture market share from TP were focused on the
business segment.)
Krakow
Rzeszow But the creation of a new and more powerful
regulator in January 2006, the Offi ce of Electronic
Communications (UKE), quickly changed the
country’s telecom landscape—as well as Netia’s
broadband rollout strategy.
In May 2006, the UKE ordered TP to offer a
bit-stream product to its competitors. Netia was
the first of Poland’s altnets to take advantage
From town to country
and launched a retail broadband service (based
on TP’s wholesale bit-stream offer) in January
2007. As of 31 March 2008, Netia had nearly
130,000 broadband subscribers based on bit-
stream access, which accounted for 45 percent
Netia has switched its WiMAX focus from urban to rural
of its total broadband connections. By contrast,
7,200 subscribers were hooked up to the Inter-
areas as the regulator forces the incumbent to open up its net via WiMAX at that time; it also had nearly
broadband network to competitors.
12,000 WiMAX voice customers at the end of
Q1 2008.
By Ken Wieland And during Q1 2008, Netia again beat its rivals
by being the fi rst altnet in Poland to soft launch
services based on the incumbent’s unbundled
N
etia, the largest altnet in Poland, has am- product development director at Netia. local loop. In May 2008 Netia began a promotion
bitious broadband expansion plans. As of Netia primarily views WiMAX as a means for campaign targeted to approximately 170,000 cus-
31 March 2008, Netia had 257,000 broad- connecting rural areas rather than for deploy- tomers who are connected to the nodes that have
band subscribers (a 150,000 rise from 12 months ment in Poland’s more densely-populated towns been unbundled so far. Th e number of unbundled
previously) and intends to increase that number and cities. The operator, however, did not always nodes was 17 as of mid-May 2008 but Netia is
to 400,000 by the end of 2008. By the end of 2010 think like that. targeting to unbundle in excess of 100 nodes by
it aims to have one million broadband subscrib- Three years ago when the Office of Telecom- the year-end to give a reach of around one million
ers on its books. munications and Post Regulation (URTiP), which customer lines.
“Of the one million broadband subscriber was Poland’s regulator at the time, allocated Moreover, observes Trznadel, because the
target by 2010, we expect WiMAX will account WiMAX spectrum to Netia, the plan was to UKE has managed to work eff ectively with TP to
for about ten percent,” says Marek Trznadel, deploy WiMAX in towns and cities. Although enforce bit-stream access and local loop unbun-
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