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Switzerland - Internet

Unless you are moving to a remote location, you will have no difficulty obtaining broadband internet in Switzerland, which is second only to the Netherlands in its rate of broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. In 2010 broadband was primarily delivered via an ADSL/VDSL service (72.3%) with the remainder provided via cable modem. Switzerland currently lags behind many European neighbours in use of fibre connections. Swisscom dominates the broadband internet market with a share of approx 77%, followed by Sunrise with 17%.

Your broadband internet can be subscribed to as part of a bundled package that will typically include fixed line calls, mobile calls and digital TV. For this you will pay a fixed monthly fee. If you are simply looking for internet-only you will be able to choose from a range of packages offering different monthly download and upload limits. Online comparison engine comparis.ch will allow you to compare current flat rate offers from the top 10 internet providers. Most Swiss internet providers will wish to sell you an annual contract so you may have to shop around if you want a shorter-term subscription.

It can take considerably longer for your internet connection to be activated than it does your fixed phone line, depending on the infrastructure already in place. Expect a minimum wait of 2-3 days but allow for up to a month. Your provider should be able to give you an estimate at time of purchase.

If you live in an apartment building, be aware that you may receive a bill for cable line connection (Kabelanschluss), split equally between residents, in your Nebenkosten charges regardless of whether or not you use it. Private customers will also be liable for these monthly line charges.

You can find good Wi-Fi (W-Lan) coverage across Switzerland. While out and about, look for Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops and McDonalds restaurants. Charges may apply for usage or, where free, you may need to make a minimum purchase. The InterCity (IC) trains also have Wi-Fi.

OFCOM, the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, is responsible for maintaining and modernising internet services and overseeing internet security. They regulate certain aspects of Swiss internet usage, including prohibiting mass advertising by email (i.e. spam) that infringes the regulations specified on their website. Being found guilty of large-scale spamming can result in a prison sentence or extremely large fine. They will also require the .ch domain registry to block domains being used for illegal or harmful purposes. Suspicions must be justified before action will be taken against a domain.

European Digital Rights group EDRI consider internet censorship to be in effect in Switzerland, and Zurich is home to the Swiss Pirate Party (G: Piratenpartei, F: Parti pirate), a group concerned with protecting privacy and freedom online who have found support from young people in particular.

Useful Resources

http://www.swisscom.ch/ (available in English)
Swisscom (Switzerland) AG, Contact Center, CH 3050 Bern
Tel: 0800 800 800 (free)
Tel: +41 848 800 811 (international, charges apply)
Email: fixnet.contactcenter@swisscom.com

Sunrise Communications AG, Binzmühlestrasse 130, Postfach, CH 8050 Zürich
Tel: 0800 707 707
Tel: +41 800 707 707 (international)

UPC Cablecom
UPC Cablecom GmbH, Industriestrasse 19-21, CH 8112 Otelfingen
Tel: 0800 66 88 66
Tel: +41 800 66 88 66 (international)

Zurich Office: Orange Communications SA, Hardturmstrasse 161, CH 8005 Zurich
Tel: 0800 700 700
Tel: +41 78 700 70 00 (international)

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