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Internet in Denmark

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Internet in Denmark

Internet in Denmark
Total next generation access 73%[1]
Rural next generation access 3%[1]
DOCSIS 3 access 61%[1]
VDSL access 21%[1]
FTTP access 43%[1]
4G/LTE access 65%[1]
Median speed downstream[Nb 1] 20,4 Mbit/s [2]
Median speed upstream 1,9 Mbit/s[2]
Investment per household $457[1]
2012 price 12-30 Mbit/s[1] $23.40[1]
Year 2012

In an international context Denmark is viewed as a somewhat peculiar country when it comes to internet access. The former state owned telephone company TDC owns the entire last mile infrastructure in terms of copper telephone lines and the vast majority of the coaxial cable infrastructure as well.[3] Even though the Danish telecommunications infrastructure is very heavily dominated by one company, Danish internet customers still enjoy fair prices and a wide availability of different next generation access internet connections in comparison with most other EU countries.[1] Furthermore TDCs de facto monopoly on last mile infrastructure has come under attack. In the last decade regional power companies have formed national business alliances aimed at implementing FTTH for private and business end users.[4][5]

In 2012 Denmark was ranked third by OECD in terms of wired broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants (see the bar chart below).[6] The same year 99,9 % of all households and companies were able to connect to the internet via a broadband connection of at least 2 Mbit/s.[7]

In terms of rural next generation access Denmark performs poorly compared to the US or the rest of the EU.[8]


  • History 1
  • xDSL 2
  • Mobile broadband 3
  • FTTP 4
    • Sale of DONG Energy's FTTH network 4.1
  • DOCSIS 5
  • WiMAX 6
  • Internet censorship 7
  • List of Internet Service Providers 8
  • Footnotes 9
  • References 10


In May 1985 The Nordic Council of Ministers granted 9.2 million NOK (roughly the equivalent of £1 million) to a Nordic university network, named NORDUnet.[9] At the same time, the Nordic telecommunication companies created a joint company providing one-stop shopping for inter-Nordic lines called Scantele, running on a 64 kbit/s line which made it easy to create NORDUnet.[10] In 1988 NORDUnet became operational and connected to the American National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) via a 56 kbit/s satellite line to the John von Neumann Center at Princeton University, New Jersey, and then on to the NSFnet which itself had only initiated operations in 1986 using the TCP/IP standard.[11]

Besides the US's NSFnet (which was the immediate forerunner of the Internet), the NORDUnet was also connected to a similar European network such as the European Academic and Research Network (EARN) which again connected to different National research and education networks.[11]

Around the same time as the establishing of NORDUnet, Denmark established its own national research and education network called Danish Network for Research and Education (also known as DeIC), which became operational in 1987, thus connecting the research departments of several Danish universities with one another and the world via NORDUnet.[12]

In 1994, the Danish Internet Exchange Point (DIX) was set up to facilitate easy communication between different Internet service providers (ISPs).[13]

Denmark's first broadband connections for households were offered as Internet over cable television by the country's second-largest cable TV provider Stofa in 1996 to a single town – three years before the first ADSL products were offered (see xDSL section bellow).[14] In 1998 Stofa started a general roll-out to other cities and towns.[15] At the end of 2000, Denmark's largest cable TV provider TDC launched a similar product.[16]


ADSL was introduced commercially to Denmark in 1999 by the then 4 year old company Cybercity. TDC launched its own ADSL products the following year and quickly became the dominant ADSL company[1][17]

In 2005 a new company Fullrate established it self as a low cost ISP and managed to obtain a market share of 4,1 percent between 2005 and 2009.[18] Fullrate concentrated its broadband products on urban areas of more than 12.000 inhabitants and ADSL2+ technology.[19] Fullrate was bought buy TDC in 2008.[18]

TDC launched its first VDSL2 products in June 2007[20] but until 2011 the countrywide VDSL2 coverage was nonetheless no greater than 2% only achieving 21% by the year 2012.[21]

As of the end of 2012, TDC controlled 74% of the Danish xDSL market[1] and roughly about half of all internet connections were based on xDSL technology.[22] As of 2013 98% of alle house holds and companies were able to access a xDSL connection of at least 2 Mbit/s downstream.[23]

Mobile broadband

A Danish chimney with 3G and 4G (LTE) antennas attached to it

In stark contrast to the infrastructure of cable based internet connections the Danish mobile broadband infrastructure is owned by four different telephone companies (3, Telenor, Telia and TDC) and divided into 3 independent networks (Telia and Telenor share a joint mobile network) each with countrywide 2G coverage and close to countrywide 3G coverage.[24][25][26][27] Competition is fierce and best described as an all out price war which commentators (such as and the industry itself alike has characterized as unsustainable in the long run.[27]

4G has as of 2012 only achieved 65% coverage. Per terms of several government public spectrum auctionings of 4G licenses more than 99% of the Danish population must be covered by at least a 10 Mbit/s 4G service by 2015.[28]


OECD countries fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, by technology, December 2013. Notice Denmark's third place and the mix of different technologies

The traditional telephone companies have historically shown little to no interest in implementing fiber to the premises (FTTP).[3][29] In 2005 this led 14 local and regional power companies to invest around 1 billion pounds between 2005 and 2013 in building a FTTP infrastructure from scratch. The power companies usually roll out fiber optic cables when they need to dig in an area due to works on subterranean power cables.[30][31]

Sale of DONG Energy's FTTH network

The biggest of these power companies - the stat owned DONG Energy - did however sell its entire consumer-facing fiber optic network to TDC in 2009 and exited the ISP market.[32] This left the capital city of Copenhagen and a vast area north of Copenhagen without any power company to coordinate a roll-out of FTTH with works on subterranean power cables. Since the purchase of DONG Energy's fiber optic network the roll-out of FTTH in the Copenhagen area has practically been ignored by TDC and left to a few small companies focusing on a small number of clients. Even though the fiber optic cables were in the ground TDC emphasized the marketing of fiber optic products to the extent of not mentioning it as a product on its own webpage.[33] Furthermore fiber optic connections were downgraded to asymmetric speeds resembling that of VDSL2.[33] In 2012 TDC responded to the criticism by stating that "the Danes don't care about fiber optics". TDC also emphasized that the company did use the fiber optics network it had purchased from DONG Energy, but usually as a backbone for its VDSL2 products.[34]

In the meantime the remaining 13 local and regional power companies have managed to build up a customer base of more than 250.000 house holds and as of 2013 43% of all Danish house holds had access to FTTH.[1] The biggest FTTP player is FIBIA.[35]


As of 2013, DOCSIS 3 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) contributed more than any other technology to Denmark's next generation access (NGA) coverage,[36] 63% of all households are able to access a DOCSIS connection and 62% of all households are able to access a DOCSIS 3 connection.[1] While DOCSIS 3 has the same availability as xDSL in the major cities it is close to nonexistent in the rural areas. TDC controls 66% of the market for DOCSIS connections via its subsidiary company YouSee while the second-largest market share of around 10% is controlled by Stofa, which was purchased in 2014 by the biggest FTTH company S.E (abbreviation for Southern Energy).[1][37] S.E has referred to the purchase of Stofa as a direct attempt to challenge TDC's dominant position in the cable TV and DOCSIS market.[38]

Due to TDC's very dominant position, The Danish Business Authority has ordered TDC to open its coaxial network to other competitors since 2009. This has however not brought any new competitors to compete with TDC on DOCSIS 3 connections; this is because TDC has set up its system in such a way that any customer has to buy regular cable TV from TDC, before the customer can purchase any DOCSIS 3 connection from a competitor. In 2014, The Danish Business Authority started taking steps towards new regulation demanding that TDC should open its coaxial network in terms of both cable TV and DOCSIS 3 to arbitrage competitors.[39]


Until 2009 Clearwire operated a somewhat countrywide WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) network with about 10,000 customers.[40] After the bankruptcy of Clearewire's Danish subsidiary its customers were taken over by the WiMAX ISP Skyline which already had its own customer base of around 10.000 - mostly situated in Jutland and Funen.[40] From 2009-2012 Skyline's customer base grew to about 40,000 subscribers, however Skyline filed on 10 May 2012 for bankruptcy saying that the development of 4G services along with falling market prices had made it unsustainable for the company to continue its enterprise.[41] As of 2014 the small 10-man company AirNet operated a scattered but growing WiMAX network focusing on rural areas with poor or no broadband access and offering speeds of up to 20/2 Mbit/s down- and upstream, respectively.[42]

Internet censorship

According to the OpenNet Initiative there is "no evidence" that Denmark is censoring its citizens internet access in terms of political content, social content, conflict & security content or web sites that provide internet tools (such as e-mail, internet hosting, search, translation etc.) [43] A high court did however order the Danish ISPs to block the sites The Pirate Bay and AllOfMP3 in a 2008 civil lawsuit on the grounds of copyrights infringements.[44]

List of Internet Service Providers

Major providers:

Other notable providers:

  • Stofa - a part of S.E (DOCSIS 3 and FTTH only)
  • Waoo (joint customer front for 15 local Danish power companies, not including S.E - FTTH only)[46]
  • Nianet (joint business customer front for 16 local Danish power companies, including S.E - FTTP only)[5]


  1. ^ "Median speed" defined as the median speed which the consumers choose to purchase the rights to use from the ISP. Not to be confused with the median maximum available speed. All speeds are as marketed by the ISP. In the case of xDSL these have a tendency to be overstated compared to achievable speeds for the end user.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o John H. Chestnut (June 2014). "U.S. vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?". University of Pennsylvania Law School. p. 36. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Bredbåndskortlægning 2013" (PDF) (in Danish). Danish Business Authority. 2013. p. 27.  
  3. ^ a b Povl D. Rasmussen (23 April 2010). "Telia og Telenor: Vi er uden alternativer til TDC's net" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  4. ^ Kirstine Kloster Andersen (25 October 2012). "SE: Stofa-køb er et frontalangreb på TDC" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  5. ^ a b "Ejerkreds" (in Danish). Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  6. ^ "Bredbåndskortlægning 2012". OECD. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  7. ^ "Bredbåndskortlægning 2012" (PDF). Danish Business Authority. p. 4.  
  8. ^ John H. Chestnut (June 2014). "U.S. vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?". University of Pennsylvania. p. 4. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  9. ^ Rolf Nordhagen. "NORDUNET: THE ROOTS OF NORDIC NETWORKING" (PDF). p. 5. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  10. ^ Rolf Nordhagen. "NORDUNET: THE ROOTS OF NORDIC NETWORKING" (PDF). p. 9. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  11. ^ a b Rolf Nordhagen. "NORDUNET: THE ROOTS OF NORDIC NETWORKING" (PDF). p. 10. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  12. ^ "Danish e-Infrastructure Cooperation Forskningsnettet" (in Danish). Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  13. ^ "The Danish Internet Exchange Point". Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  14. ^ Asbjørn Jørgensen (06.04.1998). "100.000 Stofa-kunder kan få Internet" (in Danish). Jyllands-Postenk. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  15. ^ Asbjørn Jørgensen (06.04.1998). "Hård dyst om kabel-bredbånd mellem Stofa og TDC" (in Danish). Jyllands-Postenk. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  16. ^ Henning Mølsted (22 January 2004). "Tele Danmark klar med Internet over kabel-tv i Århus" (in Danish). Ingeniøren. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  17. ^ "Cybercitys historie" (in Danish). Telenor. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  18. ^ a b Povl D. Rasmussen & Mads Bang (13 March 2009). "TDC dæmper pres på ADSL-priser med Fullrate-køb" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  19. ^ Kapser Villum Jensen (30 January 2007). "Fullrate indtager Århus og Aalborg" (in Danish). Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  20. ^ "Superhurtigt bredbånd fra TDC" (in Danish). TDC. 13 March 2009. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  21. ^ John H. Chestnut (June 2014). "U.S. vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?". University of Pennsylvania Law School. p. 35. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  22. ^ "Bredbåndskortlægning 2013" (PDF) (in Danish). Danish Business Authority. 2013. p. 25.  
  23. ^ "Bredbåndskortlægning 2013" (PDF) (in Danish). Danish Business Authority. 2013. p. 18.  
  24. ^ "2G-3G Denmark". Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  25. ^ 3. "Netværk" (in Danish). Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  26. ^ "Nyt Mobilnetværk" (in Danish). TDC. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  27. ^ a b Kim Stensdal (19 August 2014). "TDC, Telia, Telenor og 3: Nu er de fire - men snart kun tre" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  28. ^ John H. Chestnut (June 2014). "U.S. vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?". University of Pennsylvania Law School. p. 38. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  29. ^ Jesper Kildebogaard (7 December 2012). "TDC: Danskerne er ligeglade med fiber". Version 2. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  30. ^ Dansk Energi (25 February 2013). "Om energiselskabernes fibernet". University of Pennsylvania Law School. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  31. ^ Dansk Energi. "ENERGISELSKABERNES FIBERNET". p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  32. ^ Kim Stensdal (17 November 2009). "TDC køber DONG fibernet for trecifret millionbeløb" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  33. ^ a b Jesper Kildebogaard (14 December 2011). "TDC gemmer fiberforbindelser for kunderne: Vil hellere bruge kobberet" (in Danish). Version2. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  34. ^ Jesper Kildebogaard (7 December 2012). "TDC: Danskerne er ligeglade med fiber" (in Danish). Version2. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  35. ^ "Om FIBIA" (in Danish). 
  36. ^ "Bredbåndskortlægning 2013" (PDF) (in Danish). Danish Business Authority. 2013. p. 19.  
  37. ^ Henrik Rasch (27 August 2014). "Stofa-fusion er startskud for frontalt angreb på TDC" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  38. ^ Kirstine Kloster Andersen (25 October 2012). "SE: Stofa-køb er et frontalangreb på TDC" (in Danish). p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  39. ^ Jesper Kildebogaard. "Mere konkurrence på Yousees kabel-tv er på vej" (in Danish). Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  40. ^ a b Thomas Breinstrup (21 October 2009). "Danske Telecom under konkurs" (in Danish). Berlingske. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  41. ^ Theis Holtz Hansen (10 May 2012). "4G tvinger Skyline til konkurs" (in Danish). Version2. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  42. ^ Andreas Lolk (2012-07-13). "AirNet – en mulig arvtager efter Skyline?" (in Danish). Bredbaandsluppen. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  43. ^ "Global Internet Filtering Map". OpenNet Initiative. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  44. ^ Rune Pedersen (26 November 2008). "Østre Landsret stadfæster spærring af Pirate Bay" (in Danish). ComputerWorld. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  45. ^ "Hvem er 3?" (in Danish). Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  46. ^ "Dansk Bredbånd solgt til Waoo!" (in Danish). 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
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