Network infrastructure – the broadband network as a foundation of a digitalized Swiss economy
Basic infrastructure such as fixed and mobile networks and data centers are the foundation of a functioning digital economy. They are used for communication purposes, data are exchanged, products are distributed, and services are produced and sold. Without a reliable network infrastructure, digitalization and automated business processes would be impossible. In addition to the currently existing 4 million broadband connections and 11 million active SIM cards, the networking of devices, vehicles, machines, and buildings will become ever more important for the digital economy and society over the next few years. By 2020, there will be around 20 to 30 million items in Switzerland connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). Mobile connections to the Internet will play a dominant role. Besides bandwidth, additional requirements will also need to be taken into account, such as latency and energy consumption. Currently, we see strong investment and competitive dynamics both in fixed and mobile communications when it comes to expanding modern broadband networks. Switzerland scores very well in various international rankings for broadband coverage (OECD, WEF, Akamai etc.)
Concerning the current status
The theme index calculation confirms there is good broadband coverage in Switzerland, with a 93% target achievement. Around 83% of buildings, and an even higher proportion of households allow for the above-average use of digital services. But the remaining 17% of buildings also usually have ample provision, allowing users to watch video streams, surf the Internet, or shop online. The situation is even better when it comes to mobile communications coverage, with the latest 4G/LTE mobile communications technology available in 99% of all populated areas. The quality of supply is not only determined by the basic infrastructure, but also by customers, in terms of, for example, what end device they use, their location, or the time of day. Customers’ needs are increasing continuously. High-quality basic infrastructure therefore requires ongoing modernization of networks to meet growing demands. For these reasons, the «digital shopping basket» and target values also have to be modified continuously.
«The importance of mobile communications provision for digitalization will increase significantly in the coming years. By creating favourable framework conditions, politicians should help drive forward the rapid modernization and expansion of mobile communication networks.»