National Plan for the Development of Broadband Access in the Republic of Croatia

Strategies and Action Plans

The “Nacionalni plan razvoja širokopojasnog pristupa u Republici Hrvatskoj u razdoblju od 2021. do 2027. godine” (National Plan for the Development of Broadband Access in the Republic of Croatia from 2021 to 2027) is a comprehensive strategy designed to enhance and expand broadband access across Croatia. This plan continues the efforts and policies from previous strategies covering the periods of 2006-2008, 2009-2012, 2012-2015, and 2016-2020.

The primary goal of the National Plan is to further develop broadband access, addressing and eliminating existing obstacles and shortcomings encountered in previous development phases. This strategy aligns with Croatia’s broader legislative and regulatory framework for strategic planning and development, as well as the strategic goals set by the European Union (EU) for broadband access up to 2025, defined in the ‘European Gigabit Society 2025’ communication.

The plan is fully aligned with the ‘National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia 2030,’ specifically targeting the ‘Green and Digital Transition’ direction and the strategic goal of digital transition for society and the economy. The plan focuses on the development of broadband electronic communication networks, aiming to stimulate the development and construction of very high-capacity broadband infrastructure that enables gigabit connectivity.

During the implementation period of this National Plan, broadband access speeds of less than 100 Mbps will no longer be sufficient. The demand for broadband speeds of 1 Gbps and higher is increasing, with a growing emphasis on symmetric speeds, improved access quality (regarding transmission errors and latency), and overall reliability. Additionally, the expanding use of the Internet of Things (IoT) broadens the scope of broadband users to include various devices and machines exchanging data in real-time. The development of network technologies, particularly the introduction of fifth-generation mobile networks (5G), is expected to blur the lines between fixed and mobile broadband access, accelerating the convergence of these networks to provide high-speed broadband access for numerous use scenarios and applications.

The National Plan also outlines measures to reduce disparities in broadband access within Croatia. Despite generally low broadband availability indicators, some urban areas already have gigabit connectivity, while such infrastructure is almost non-existent in rural areas. Addressing the digital divide between urban and rural areas is critical, especially considering negative demographic and economic trends in rural regions, which further decrease the potential user base for broadband access in these areas.