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In need of an upgrade?

Experts say Poland's telecom market needs a zł.25 billion injection.

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The telecommunications industry in Poland is one of the least-developed among EU nations, according to a research report by advisory firm KPMG and ordered by the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland (AmCham), the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland, and the Polish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The report points out the country's difficulties when it comes to telecommunication infrastructure, including scarce access to broadband internet connections and discrepancies caused by the so-called "digital divide" - the contrast in telecommunication access between cities and rural areas.

"The gap in telecom infrastructure between Poland and other EU countries is growing to our disadvantage," according to Jarosław Roszkowski, an AmCham representative and president of Crowley Data Poland.

He stressed that about 40 percent of the country's economic progress depends upon progress in the telecommunications sector.
"Investments in this branch bring multiple returns. Right now, these investments are definitely insufficient," Roszkowski said.

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These low investments hamper Poland's competitiveness among foreign investors, the report claims. It also leads to wasting the considerable social and economic potential of Poland, especially when it comes to young and qualified people. Meanwhile, one-fourth of the total GDP of EU countries is attributed to IT and telecommunication technologies.

Polish telecom infrastructure needs at least zł.25 billion for an upgrade, according to the National Institute of Telecommunications, which the report quotes. The development of Next Generation Networking (NGN) systems is particularly important, according to KPMG.

While some of the costs may be covered by EU funds, the chambers' representatives stressed the potential for the state's cooperation with private businesses.

The adoption of a coherent and long-term strategy for the telecommunications sector and the creation of a stable legal and regulatory environment are among the chambers' other concerns.

Konrad Kiedrzyński

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