Telecommunications in Austria
This article concerns the systems of telecommunication in Austria. Austria has a highly developed and efficient telephone network, and has a number of radio and television broadcast stations.
The telephone system is highly developed and efficient. Fibre-optic coverage is extensive, although it remains very expensive. A full range of telephone and Internet services are available via the network.
- International calling code: 43
Fixed line phones
- 3.4 million fixed line phones, 47th in the world (2011).
Fixed-line subscribership has been in decline since the mid-1990s and was eclipsed by mobile-cellular in the late 1990s.
- 7.6 million mobile phone lines in use, 60th in the world (2011).
The Austrian mobile phone market is highly competitive, with some of the lowest rates in Europe. Due to the geographical structures of Austria (mountains, flat lands, lakes) many providers use it as a "testing range" for new services. Mobile number portability was introduced in 2008, allowing users to retain their mobile phone numbers when switching between network operators. The original area codes allocated to each operator can no longer be used to determine the network with which a subscriber is registered.
- First generation networks
- D-Netz by Telekom Austria. This network was switched off at the end of the 1990s.
- Second generation networks
- A1: originally Mobilkom. It now runs a mixed GSM-900, GSM-1800 and UMTS network. Also provides service for MVNO's bob, B-free (owned by A1), and Red Bull Mobile.
- T-Mobile: originally max mobil. It now runs a mixed GSM-900, GSM-1800 and UMTS network. Also marketed as telering as a separate brand.
- Orange: originally One (until September 2008). A mixed GSM-1800 and UMTS network. Since end 2011 owned by Drei/Hutchinson Whampoa. Also provides service for the MVNO known as Yess! and is now owned by Drei.
- Third generation networks
- 37 Internet service providers (ISPs), most of them organised in the local ISP association Internet Service Providers Austria, ISPA.
- 6.7 million Internet users, 50th in the world; 81% of the population, 29th in the world (2012).
- 2,074,252 fixed broadband subscriptions, 41st in the world; 25.2% of the population, 33rd in the world (2012).
- 4,564,834 mobile subscriptions, 40th in the world; 55.5% of the population, 23rd in the world (2012).
- 3.5 million Internet hosts, 30th in the world (2012).
- 300,000 Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL).
The Austrian broadband market is dominated by the DSL providers, which rapidly overtook cable as the preferred access method. However, mobile services employing UMTS/HSDPA and LTE are rapidly gaining ground due to fierce market competition. SDSL and optical fiber access is also available.
The main ISP's in Austria are:
- Telekom Austria (incumbent)
- kabelPlus, offering cable services in the area around Vienna  and
- next layer, offering fiber and data center services to business customers only.
Typical speeds are up to 30Mbit/s download and 5Mbit/s upload over DSL (up to 50Mbit/s download over VDSL), and up to 250Mbit/s download and 25Mbit/s upload over cable.
There are also a number of smaller locally centered ISPs typically providing services in a city, district, or state over their own infrastructure. Most are also able to deliver services Austria wide by using resold Telekom Austria lines/capacity with value added services such as static IP addresses and IPv6. Notable are:
- UPC Fiber Power (in most bigger cities Austria wide, up to 250Mbit/s download and 25Mbit/s upload) over a FTTB variation with coaxial cable as in-house cabling / Blizznet (in some districts of Vienna, up to 100Mbit download and 100Mbit upload) as Fiber to the Home (FTTH).
- Business/Datacenter Internet connections and carrier up links with speeds up to 100Gbit/s as well as wavelength and dark fiber services for data transport in and between cities are available as well, with the main connection point being Vienna, where most carriers have one or more POPs in their own or carrier neutral datacenters.
Flat rate plans are the most common for fixed broadband service. Some cable and DSL contracts offer price reductions for university students. A data transfer limit does not apply for most plans.
Some ISPs offer flat rates for mobile access. Data transfer limits apply to most mobile broadband access which is usually shaped to a certain speed after the data transfer limit is reached.
Internet censorship and surveillance
In August 2014, IFPI Austria has requested Internet blocking for several file sharing web sites such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt, starting the latest August 14, 2014 (postponed from August 1, 2014). This procedure has been heavily criticized in the media, as there is no formal procedure for unblocking such IPs ever again, and no formal review process that incorrect blocks cannot be obtained. Users sharing an IP may be blocked as a side effect, too.
As of May 2016[update], Austrian ISPs are now once again free to unblock all previously blocked sites after the government appealed a new law for file sharing similar to the one in Switzerland. Although the IFPI is still trying to challenge this ruling.
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. Individuals and groups engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. Authorities work to restrict access to Web sites containing information that violates the law, such as neo-Nazi and child pornography sites. Authorities restrict access to banned Web sites by trying to shut such sites and forbidding the country’s Internet service providers to carry them.
The Austrian constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and the press. The independent media are active and express a wide variety of views with few restrictions. Individuals generally criticize the government publicly or privately without reprisal. The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and the government generally respects these prohibitions in practice.
The law prohibits incitement, insult, or contempt against a group because of its members’ race, nationality, or ethnicity if the statement violates human dignity and the government strictly enforces these laws. The law prohibits public denial, belittlement, approval, or justification of the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity in a print publication, a broadcast, or other media and the government strictly enforces these laws. Strict libel and slander laws discourage reporting of governmental abuse. For example, many observers believed that the ability and willingness of the police to sue for libel or slander discourages individuals from reporting abuse by police.
On 31 July 2012, a 26-year-old man received an 18-month sentence, of which 12 months were to be served, for posting that his favorite book was Hitler’s Mein Kampf and linking to Nazi material on his Facebook page.
In February 2007 Austrian authorities were able to uncover a "child-pornography ring" involving seventy-seven countries, based on a report by a man working for a Vienna-based Internet file-hosting service.
Radio and television
- There are 2 AM, 160 FM and 1 shortwave radio broadcast stations, with several hundred FM repeaters.
- There were 6.08 million radios in Austria in 1997.
- There are 45 broadcast television stations, with in excess of 1000 repeaters.
- There were 4.25 million televisions in the country in 1997.
The largest broadcasting corporations are:
- Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), Austria's public broadcaster, was the main broadcast source until commercial radio and TV service was introduced in the 1990s.
- ATV, privately held
- Puls 4, privately held
- Servus TV, privately held
- Alpes Adria Internet Exchange (AAIX), a non-profit exchange located in Klagenfurt, Austria.
- Area codes in Austria
- Freinberg Transmitter
- List of radio stations in Austria and Liechtenstein
- Telephone numbers in Austria
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State.
- "Austria Communications", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- "Austria - Mobile Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts", BuddeComm, Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
- "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
- "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
- "Austria - Broadband Market Insights, Analysis and Forecasts", BuddeComm, Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- A1 Telekom Austria. "Handy - Festnetz - Internet - Mobiles Internet - TV - A1.net". a1.net.
- "UPC Austria - Internet, Fernsehen und Telefon". upc.at.
- "Tele2 – Der schnelle & günstige Anbieter für Internet, Telefon & Fernsehen". tele2.at.
- "next layer: Telekommunikationsdienstleistungs- und BeratungsGmbH". www.nextlayer.at. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
-  Archived August 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Pirate Bay Blockade Lifted By Austrian Court - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. 2016-06-23. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "Austria", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 22 March 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- "Internet Filtering in Europe 2006-2007", OpenNet Initiative. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- Alpes Adria Internet Exchange, website