Internet in Switzerland
The Internet in Switzerland has one of the highest penetration rates in Europe.
- Internet users: 6.8 million, 49th in the world; 85.2% of the population, 19th in the world (2012).
- Fixed broadband: 3.3 million subscribers, 27th in the world; 41.9% of population, 3rd in the world (2012).
- Mobile broadband: 3.3 million subscribers, 49th in the world; 41.4% of population, 39th in the world (2012).
- Internet hosts: 5.3 million, 20th in the world (2012).
- Top level domain: .ch
- IPv4 addresses: 20.9 million, 0.5% of worldwide total, 2,726 addresses per person (2012).
Switzerland has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in Europe. Broadband access replaced dial-up telephone communications as the main growth area, and DSL networks have overtaken cable Internet access as the principal technology for broadband access. Strong growth in mobile broadband has added to the mix.
Approximately two thirds of home broadband subscriptions are via DSL, specifically ADSL and VDSL, with the remaining third using cable. Many DSL providers sell "naked DSL", which is cheaper, but comes without telephone service. Other xDSL technologies, satellite access, and optical fiber are available, but are generally used by businesses due to their cost. Fiber connections for private customers are available in some urban areas.
Fixed broadband providers
- Cablecom, the largest cable ISP, supplies digital broadband Internet access, telephone and TV. No Swisscom line is needed for Cablecom services. There is a subscription fee for the cable line, which is often included in the rent of an apartment. The cable subscription includes "free Internet" (2MBit/sec) for a setup fee of 100CHF. A comprehensive website in English explains all products.
- DFI is the main Internet supplier in Geneva.
- Green provides ADSL, VDSL and SDSL Internet connections. Website in French, German and English.
- M-Budget DSL provides DSL, fixed lines and mobile phones. Web site in French, German and Italian.
- Monzoon offers prepaid VDSL and ADSL lines.
- Sunrise provides fixed lines, mobile phones and various ADSL and VDSL packages. Website in French, German, Italian and English.
- Swisscom Internet service. Website in French, German, Italian and English.
Speeds and price comparison
- Swisscom DSL residential plans: 5 Mbit/s (74CHF/month), 15 Mbit/s (79CHF/month), 40 Mbit/s (99CHF/month), 100Mbit/s (109/month), 300Mbit/s (139CHF/month). Needs a telephone line which costs 25.35CHF/month.
- Cablecom Cable: Residential Plans: 20 Mbit/s (45CHF/month), 50 Mbit/s (59CHF/month), 125 Mbit/s (69CHF/month), 250 Mbit/s (89CHF/month). One time activation fee 49CHF. Needs a cable subscription which costs 28.40CHF / month (often part of the rent).
- Green naked: 2 Mbit/s (50CHF), 10 Mbit/s (65CHF), 20 Mbit/s (78CHF), 30 Mbit/s (98CHF) 50 Mbit/s (119CHF or 156CHF, depending on upstream speed) The required telephone line is included, but does not include voice telephone service.
Mobile broadband providers
There are three Swiss mobile network providers, each using its own mobile network:
There are numerous types of mobile telephone subscriptions. Subscriptions are for 12 or 24 months, depending on the offer. Several providers have ended the practice of automatic renewal upon expiry and more will do so in 2014.
There are also prepaid offers available, which do not require a subscription. After buying the prepaid card, calls can be made immediately. Some providers have facilities for recharging a card at train ticket dispensing machines, post office machines, or in some electronics shops. Prepaid cards are sold in many shops and kiosks.
Internet censorship and surveillance
There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitored e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority.
The 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 of the press. The law penalizes public incitement to racial hatred or discrimination, spreading racist ideology, and denying crimes against humanity, but there were no convictions or arrests during 2012 under this law. Under Swiss federal law, it is a crime to publish information based on leaked “secret official discussions.” A number of cases involving violations of secrecy by the press were under investigation during 2012, but authorities handed down no sentences for such offenses.
In November 2011 the Swiss government ruled that downloading pirated copies of films, music and video games for personal use will remain legal, because it is not detrimental to copyright owners.
In 2010 the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland found that IP addresses are personal information and that under Swiss privacy laws they may not be used to track Internet usage without the knowledge of the individuals involved. Switzerland's Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner praised the decision and said that companies using personal information to track Internet usage are assuming "tasks clearly in the State's domain" and only the state can violate personal privacy and only when pursuing criminal cases. He also made clear his view that the "decision provides no protection for anyone breaking the law. Clearly it should be possible to punish copyright infringements on the Internet".
A proposal was drafted in 2002 to revise Swiss federal laws on lotteries and betting. Under the proposal providers offering access to games that are considered illegal face fines up to 1 million Swiss francs or up to a year of imprisonment. This effort was suspended in 2004, and no further action has been taken since.
In December 2002 a local Swiss magistrate ordered several Swiss ISPs to block access to three Web sites hosted in the United States that were strongly critical of Swiss courts, and to modify their DNS-servers to block the domain appel-au-people.org. The Swiss Internet User Group and the Swiss Network Operators Group protested that the blocks could easily be bypassed and that the move was contrary to the Swiss constitution, which guarantees "the right to receive information freely, to gather it from generally accessible sources and to disseminate it" to every person. Nonetheless, there was strong enforcement, as the directors of noncompliant ISPs were asked to appear personally in court, failing which they faced charges of disobedience.
- "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
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- "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
- "Switzerland Communications", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- Select Formats, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
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- Orange website. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
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