According to Akamai’s Q3 2015 rankings, the Netherlands has an average connection speed of 15.6 Mbps and an average peak connection speed of 63.5 Mbps.
Internet Penetration Rate
According to a 2017 estimate, the Netherlands has a population of approximately 17.1 million people. Of these, 97% are connected to the Internet, which places the country among the countries with the highest Internet penetration rates in the world.
Main Types of Access to the Internet
The Internet infrastructure in this country is primarily defined by the existence of broadband access, which is divided into cable, optical fiber, DSL, FTTH and FTTB access. Of these, cable is the prominent type of connection, with nearly 41% of the total subscriptions. While rare, dial-up connections still exist locally, but ISPs have recently started devising plans to complete the conversion from dial-up to broadband completely.
Deployment of fiber optic is similar to the local-loop unbundling process: one company invests in the physical network on which other companies provide their services to end users. At the end of 2010, fiber-optic Internet was available in 205 out of the 391 municipalities of the Netherlands.
Main Internet Service Providers – Breakdown
The internet industry belongs to the private sector. The market is divided between many ISPs, thus making it very competitive. Major names include UPC, Ziggo, Vodafone, KPN, XS4ALL and Tele2. Ziggo is the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, providing broadband Internet, cable TV and telephone services to both individual customers and businesses. However, many local customers assert that the best ISP is currently XS4ALL, citing the company’s reliability of service and great value for money, especially when it comes to fiber optics and ADSL access. Since infrastructure for optical fiber and ADSL access is not as developed as cable, it doesn’t benefit from the same widespread coverage, so customers are usually confined to Ziggo and/or UPC for cable access to the Internet, albeit slower and less reliable.
Pricing and Competition
According to stats published by Numbeo.com, getting connected to the Internet in the Netherlands is easy and cheap. As such, pricing for a basic connection to the Internet, on all connection types (fiber optics, cable, ADSL), starts at approximately $30 per month in local currency (EUR). Since the competition between ISPs is fierce, customers are lured with diverse marketing strategies. You are advised to carry out due diligence and consider more factors than the final price you pay.
Below you can find some of the most important characteristics of the Internet in the Netherlands:
1. Internet industry belongs to the private sector
There are over 100 regional and nationwide ISPs in the Netherlands. Major names include UPC, Ziggo, Vodafone, KPN, XS4ALL and Tele2. Services provided by each ISPs include a lot of features and bonuses, and generally provide great value for money; however, most of them tie customers to yearly subscriptions, while only a few allow month-to-month commitment.
2. Popular offshore hosting location
The term “offshore hosting” is a rather vague term on the Internet and can refer to a wide variety of things. Chiefly, when someone opts for offshore hosting services, it simply means that the respective individual seeks a provider outside his country of origin, mainly due to certain legal limitations that wouldn’t allow him to conduct his business legally. For example, since explicit creation and distribution of explicit pornography is strictly forbidden in South Korea, someone from there might opt for an offshore hosting provider’s services to host the pornographic content legally, without fearing prosecution from competent South Korean authorities. However, this term is used with a subtler nuance among gray and black-hatters. For instance, someone who wants to host black-hat, warez or otherwise any other content that is globally illegal but that would be overlooked in a certain country, would opt for the respective offshore hosting provider’s services in that country. Another meaning for this term is when a hosting provider ignores the notorious American DMCA law. Examples of countries where DMCA is usually ignored: Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and, of course, Netherlands.
3. Lenient Internet and copyright laws
Currently, there are no government restrictions on access to the Internet, nor credible reports that the government monitors day-to-day activities of Internet users without obtaining a warrant beforehand.
However, a few institutions have tried to block access to certain areas of the Internet, especially websites allegedly involved in distributing copyrighted material without authorization. Specifically, in January 2012, following up a court order, the Bescherming Rechten Entertainment Industrie Nederland (BREIN) demanded that all ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay due to “severe copyright infringement activities being carried out on the website”. Subsequent criticisms from NGOs and The Pirate Bay as well convinced a court to overturn the initial verdict, which ruled that ISPs no longer needed to block access to the website.
According to data published by datacentermap.com, there are 89 datacenters distributed across 30 areas in the Netherlands. As expected, almost half of datacenters (40) are located in Amsterdam alone, followed by other datacenters located in Utrecht (5) and Schiphol-Rijk (3). In Amsterdam, important datacenter names include Cateringweg 5, Switch Datacenter Amsterdam, Interxion AMS1-7 and TeleCityGroup. Generally, the following benefits are standard with each company:
– Leasing of rack space, cages, suites and enclosures
– Up to 99.999% availability SLAs on power
– 2N and/or N+1 UPS redundancy
– A full range of AC and DC output currents
– Backup generators that support 24 hours at full capacity.
– State-of-the-art facilities
– 24/7 onsite security and engineer personnel ready to intervene in case of emergency
For the purpose of clarity and thoroughness, we will divide this section into the following subtopics: “regular” web hosting and “offshore” web hosting.
1. Regular web hosting in the Netherlands
The regular web hosting industry in the Netherlands is generally well-developed and the market is divided between a plethora of hosting providers. By analyzing some of the prominent companies on the market, we’ve determined that core hosting services, such as Shared, VPS or Dedicated Hosting, exist and are offered with quite affordable prices (prices usually start at $5, $15 and $50 respectively). All companies seem to offer money-back and uptime guarantees, covered by comprehensive SLAs, and many free or paid features, such as SSL certificates, website builders and diverse antispam solutions. Support for international languages such as English is also comprehensive (Dutch is often omitted altogether in the favor of English).
2. Offshore web hosting in the Netherlands
There are many offshore hosting providers in the Netherlands. Basically, these hosting companies call themselves “offshore hosts” because they ignore DMCA complaints, and generally respect this promise as per trusted reviews given by clients. However, it should be noted that highly illegal activities are not condoned and will be reported to legal authorities. You are encouraged to consult the companies’ Terms of Service or get in touch with them to check on whether they allow your activity if you are not sure, so that you don’t run into serious trouble. These companies do not seem to be charging extra for the benefit of being hosted offshore because prices for core hosting services are very attractive, and actually compete with regular hosts’.
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