Internet in Romania
In Romania, there are 18.8 million connections to the Internet (June 2016). Romania's country code (top level domain) is .ro. The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states. There were over 600 000 domains registered under .ro at the end of 2012.
Internet usage skyrocketed in Romania after 1999, with small neighborhood Internet service providers that were affordable and with high speeds, bypassing use of copper wires or dial-up methods. This coupled with low population and land mass helps with keeping up a high average speed
According to a top made by Akamai in Q3 2016, Romania is ranked 1 in the world and 1st in Europe in terms of average Internet peak connection speed with 85 Mbit/s. In Akamai's The State of the Internet Report covering the fourth quarter of 2012, Romania came 4th on average peak connection speed by EMEA country/region.
Based on Net Index report at the end of first half of 2013, Timișoara became the city with the highest download speed in the world. Timișoara had a download speed of 89.91 Mbit/s.The second Romanian city which appeared in the ranking was Constanța, in 14th place, with a speed of 34.45 Mbit/s. The capital Bucharest came 19th, with speeds of 33.57 Mbit/s, and Brașov, 27th, with 31.01 Mbit/s. World City Ranking requires at least 75,000 unique IP addresses for a given city.
Based on Net Index data from April 2015, Cristesti is the Romanian town with the fastest internet speed of 139.12 Mbit/s. This is surprising giving the fact that major cities are usually ranked lower on the list, Bucharest being listed at number 6 and Iasi is present in 9th position. Romania is one of the countries with the fastest fixed internet connection speeds and also one of the cheapest, with 1 Gbit/s internet connections being sold for around 8 euros a month.
Internet Service Providers
Total number of active providers, as of June, 2017: 658
- Twisted pair Ethernet, satellite, other: 655 providers
- Coaxial Cable (cable modem) Access: 27 providers,
- Optical Fiber Access: 164 providers,
- xDSL Access: 5 providers.
Broadband Internet access
In Romania, broadband internet has been available since 2000, through coaxial cable, first from Kappa (now owned by UPC) and currently from RCS&RDS and UPC. Recent speeds range between 10 Mbit/s and 1000 Mbit/s for household targeted plans, and the data traffic is unmetered.
However, the most popular broadband services are provided by micro-ISPs (known locally as "reţea de bloc/reţea de cartier" (Block/Neighborhood Networks)) with 50 to 3000 customers each. These ISPs usually provide their services through 100BASE-T UTP LANs, with a number of particularities and peculiarities: most were grassroot organizations and still have a feeling of community between subscribers and the management, speeds are usually divided in three categories: "LAN", "Metropolitan" and "International" with Metropolitan meaning a limited number of networks with which the micro-ISP has a peering agreement and sometimes the cable internet providers. Generally, for such broadband connections, speeds are 1000 Mbit/s locally, 1-100 Mbit/s metro and 256-2048 kbit/s International. Some of these micro-ISP function completely legally, while others (generally the smaller ones) are organized informally in something like a permanent LAN party. Many of these micro-ISPs formed organizations to represent their common interests and provide for integration of services (one such organization is Interlan, covering the whole of Bucharest). Speeds, uptime, quality of service are generally not guaranteed, and while the biggest networks offer high quality connections and / 30 Mbit/s upload international technical support, for the smallest ones, there is even the risk of network cards burning because of lightning strikes and badly insulated network infrastructure.
For business use, services are usually provided through fiber optics or less often, radio. Companies providing such services are providing very flexible and negotiable plans also based on the Metropolitan/International distinction. Usually prices and bandwidths are fully negotiable, with the micro-ISPs discussed above being influential resellers. There is very strong competition, with no peering between many such companies (again requiring a lot of traffic to be routed through international routes) and not even access to another's fiber-optics infrastructure (leading to the existence, in some cases, of over 25 fiber optics cables on the same street, hanging from the same pole). As such many companies have two separate providers for basically the same services.
DSL has been an option since late 90's but is a less popular choice compared to the other offers because it is slightly more expensive. It has a great coverage (more than 650 cities and towns). Nowadays most other providers prefer to use Optical Fiber.
Usually, in order to be able to get an internet subscription through cable, the customers must also subscribe to a TV service.
RCS&RDS launched in 2006 FiberLink, an optic fiber based internet subscription geared towards supporting and encouraging the large demand for cheap metropolitan traffic. Most of RCS&RDS' cable infrastructure immediately began being replaced by the newer FTTB, and as of late 2006 RCS&RDS started expanding the service by acquiring and converting the popular "Neighborhood Networks" of the urban areas.
Telekom now offers FTTH connections as well.
RCS&RDS offers their FiberLink service to residential customers in individual homes through a GPON implementation, with gigabit speeds. The service is available to residential customers in condominiums if they opt for FL500 or FL1000 even if a FTTB solution already exists. The Internet subscription packages are the same as for the FTTB.
Mobile & Wireless
Usually a subscription plan includes a certain amount of data traffic per month, after which the user is limited to 128 kbit/s download speeds.
Orange Romania offers a 3G/3G+ service with speeds of up to 43.2 Mbit/s in a limited number of cities and up to 21.6 Mbit/s in rural areas (on 900 and 2100 MHz frequencies). Since April 2014 their offer was updated to include subscriptions for 4G.Since September 2014 they introduced 4G+ with speeds up to 300 Mbit/s.
Vodafone Romania also uses 3G/3G+ technologies, with speeds of up to 43.2 Mbit/s in big cities and up to 21.6 Mbit/s nationwide (on 900 and 2100 MHz frequencies). In 2012 they were the first operator to offer 4G subscriptions with the speeds gradually increased from 75 to 150 Mbit/s. On 8 September 2014, Vodafone announced its new technology: Supernet 4G - more often known as 4G+, which promises internet speeds of 300 Mbit/s using the mobile network. According to OpenSignal report on 24 September 2015, Vodafone Romania is the fastest internet provider of LTE services in Europe with an average 36 Mbit/s for download.
RCS&RDS provides 3G internet with speeds of up to 21.6 Mbit/s in the main cities and up to 7.2 Mbit/s on the main roads(on 900 and 2100 MHz frequencies). Wired internet subscribers with superior plans also receive a free 3G internet dongle and service. Since Jun 2014 an agreement with Vodafone allows the users of RCS&RDS services to do national roaming for both voice and data, using the infrastructure of Vodafone in places were RCS&RDS does not have coverage. On 20 August 2015, RCS&RDS announced that they acquired a LTE license that was previously owned by 2K Telekom Romania SRL. With no specific launched date, Digi.Mobil (the brand under witch RCS&RDS operates) promised that its 4G services will be available in the biggest 25 cities across the country until the end of the year, with the first 12 cities access in September. The license acquired is for Band38 - LTE ; TDD-LTE on 2600 MHz with a maximum download speed of 150 Mbit/s. RCS&RDS From December 5, 2015, rcs&rds is known as DIGI , and rcs&rds brand will be used for administrative contexts. Telekom Romania provides 3G internet with speeds of up to 43.2 Mbit/s in urban areas on 2100 MHz and EDGE in rural areas on 900 MHz. Since 2013 they introduced 4G with speeds up to 150 Mbit/s
WiMAX services are offered by companies like Idilis, OpticNET, Necc Telecom and Rombit NET. Speeds go up to 6 Mbit/s download and 1 Mbit/s upload, with unmetered traffic. Some providers are resellers or share the same radio infrastructure.
Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
RCS&RDS launched the Digi Wi-Fi service in 2011. It is free to use by all RCS&RDS wired internet subscribers, and free for up to 60 minutes per day for guests. There are no paid plans available.
Vodafone Romania launched the Vodafone Wi-Fi service in 2012. It allows free connections for up to 60 minutes, after which the user is disconnected. A new free connection can be made again, after the time is up.
Orange Romania offers free Wi-Fi hotspots in Bucharest's old center under the Orange Wi-Fi Zone brand since 2011.
CityNet and the vice mayor of Botosani, Cosmin Andrei launched at the Summer Fest 2013 a new service offering free Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 30 locations covering places such as schools, public parks, hospitals and landmark buildings. Promises were also made to extend in the near future.
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- "State of the Internet" (PDF). Akamai. 2017.
- "Romanian city comes out first in the world in Internet download speed ranking". Net Index. 3 July 2013.
- zaone, "Romania – orasele cu el mai rapid internet fix", iDevice.ro, 29 April 2015
- ANRCTI report from 2017 providing statistics for June 2017, pages 38-58
- "Romtelecom devine T şi Cosmote devine T-Mobile. Companiile de comunicaţii se rebranduiesc până pe 12 septembrie". adevarul.ro.