Euro-IR Project Main Index



The APC European Internet Rights Project

Country Report — Ukraine

By Yuri Onisimov, GLUK


Territory: 603,700 km2
Population: 49.3 mlllion (as at 1 January 2001)
GDP in 2000: 175 billion UAH ($32.17 billion)
Average monthly wage in 2001: 230.1 UAH ($42.3)


The number of Internet users in Ukraine has trebled in size over the last two years. The number of Net information resources has also increased considerably, from about 1,400 websites at the beginning of 1999 to almost 9,000 by the end of 2000.

Most Internet users are concentrated in the seven largest cities in Ukraine. On average only 1% of the population use the Internet. About 300,000 people use the Internet regularly and around 150,000 use it occasionally. According to research by the company Socis Gallup Int. Ukraine, 66% of Internet users in Ukraine are male, 61% of users have a job, and 32% of users are students. 75% of users are under the age of 30. 34% of users are aged between 19 and 25 , and 21% are aged between 11 and 18 years. 58% of users say their family income is average, and 34% say it is low or lower than average. 7% of users have a family income above the average.

In the autumn of 2000 Ukraine had about 32,000 Internet hosts, with about 11,000 domains registered under .ua. The areas of Kiev, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and Odessa are the best served for Internet access, while the Khmelnitskiy and Volynsk areas are least well served.

According to research carried out in Ukraine by the company CIU in the autumn of 2000, the maximum Internet audience (including people who have personal access) was 2.8 million people. 739,000 people regularly (i.e. not less than once a month) use the Internet. Of these users, 17% were women and 83% were men. On this evidence Ukraine lags behind the USA (which has the greatest number of women - 51% - using the Net), Western Europe (where 40% of women go online), the Pacific region (46-48% of women), Japan (37 %) and Russia (19%).

According to CIU, the most active users of the Internet in Ukraine are people aged between 20 and 29 years old (48.9%) , 24.4% are below the age of 19, 16.8% are aged between 30 and 39 , and 7.9% of users are 40-49 years old. Only about 2% of users are older than 50. 31% of Ukrainian Internet users are students, 29.7% are private sector workers and 11% work in the state sector. CIU statistics on areas of information accessed are: news - 51.9%, education - 50.6%, business-information - 40.2%, games and entertainment - 34.8%, finance - 20.2%, forums and chatrooms- 16.5%, and shopping - 8,1%.

There is currently little electronic commerce in Ukraine as there is no advanced system for online payment. Various types of existing channels are used in Ukraine for transmitting Internet traffic, with new data transfer networks under construction. In 2000 5.3% the total amount of fixed capital investment were made in communications. The proportion of communications services as part of the national product has increased to 4.2%. IT accounts for 2.2% of communications-related services.

Telephone provision in urban areas has been improving gradually; as at 1 July 2000 there were 50 telephones for every 100 families. Kiev has the best telephone provision, with 85 units, while in the Volynsk, Zaporozhye, Nikolaev, Odessa, Rovno, Ternopol, Khmelnitskiy, Chernovtsy areas there are 57 - 67 units. In the countryside provision is much lower - on average there are 17 basic telephone apparatuses for every 100 families. Best served in this respect is the Zaporozhye area with 26 units. Given these conditions, it is difficult for most rural dwellers to get access to the Internet.

At the beginning of 2001 the capacity of an average local telephone network was 11.7 million numbers, of which 2.7 million belong to non-state operators and corporations. By far the largest operator of local telephone service in Ukraine is till Ukrtelecom (running more than 90% of local services and about 40% of interurban and international services). The local telephone networks require considerable modernization. Around 2.3 million need to be replaced in urban networks and 500,000 in rural networks (32% of total capacity). They have been in use for over 20 years. The technical state of such networks makes them unsuitable for computer transfer of data. In 2000 Ukrtelecom was incorporated for further privatization (according to current legislation, 51% of its shares remain under control of the state, with about 12% intended for preferential sale to employees and 37% for sale to investors). It is planned to invest the proceeds of privatization in the development of a telecommunications infrastructure.

The market for mobile phones has developed rapidly, with a growth rate of 46% in 2000.. This sector now accounts for 17% of all communications services and 20% of telephone services

There are five cellphone companies competing successfully today in Ukraine: UMC (standard GSM 900/1800, NMT), Kyiv Star (standard GSM 900/1800), Golden Telecom (standard GSM 1800), Welcome (standard GSM 900), DCC (standard Damps). Competition has seen a steady fall in costs and a steady improvement in service quality . UMC has just reached a deal with Siemens Information and Communication Mobile (based in Germany) for the purchase of equipment to facilitate high-speed mobile Internet GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), and plans to offer this service from Spring 2001. There were more than 828,000 mobile phone subscribers at the beginning of 2001.

There are six companies providing interurban and international telephone services. This sector has seen a growth rate of 30% in 2000.

Internet traffic accounts for little more than 2% of total communications services in Ukraine and applies to just around 1% of the population. According to figures from the State Committee on Communication and “Informatization” of Ukraine, Internet traffic grew by 9% in 2000, with a total of external channels from Ukrainian ISPs exceeding 90 Mbit. There are around 270 ISPs in the Ukrainian market. Income from electronic communications services increased by 76% in 2000 over 1999 and accounted for 151.1 m UAH (about $28m). By the beginning of 2001 there were 9,268 web-servers (as compared with no more than 1,400 at the beginning of 1999). The average cost of dial-up Internet connection in 2000 fell by an average of 72%. The average hourly peak-time rate fell by 48.7%, and the off-peak rate by 38.5%. Charges for unlimited access fell on average by 35%. . Due to the reduction in rates, the number of users in 2000 increased to 370,000.

The majority of users (about 85%) have a dial-up connection. The connection fee for subscribers is no more than $20, while many ISPs offer free registration. The hourly peak-time rate is $0.48- $0.74, -while off-peak is $0.24-$0.30. Some ISPs, such as LuckyNet, offer free off-peak use between 2a.m. and 8a.m. Rates for unlimited Internet access are $28-$47 for subscribers and from $20 (LuckyNet) for people using a prepayment service. Recently some ISPs have been offering a popular tariff of $1 per day for unlimited access..

The cost of Internet access via non-switched lines is prohibitive for individual users. Connection via synchronous non-switched channels at 64Kbps costs around $420- $600 (excluding the price of equipment), while the monthly for unlimited traffic is about $360-$420 and from $120 if traffic takes up less than 10% of the channel.

An interesting alternative is offered by the company LuckyNet, which offers Internet access via an asynchronous dedicated channel at 56Kbps combined with telephone and fax (project LuckyLine). Connection costs $240 (including equipment), plus a monthly fee of $120 for unlimited traffic.

A number of companies offers access via ISDN` but this remains an expensive service for individual users.

LuckyNet offers the choice of satellite access (project LuckyLink,) with asymmetric access DVB (digital video broadcasting) technology. Fees are reasonable: from $42 per month for peak-time traffic under 10Mb and unlimited access after midnight. In some parts of Kiev GlobalUkraine offers high-speed access to the Internet via cable television.

Most Ukrainian ISPs provide services on a commercial basis, although some offer special promotions of free e-mail service (WebMail). The most significant non-profit player is the Ukrainian joint-stock company "UkrSat". Under its "Young generation in the 21st century" programme, "UkrSat" provides equipment and Internet access to more than 350 Ukrainian schools in the Kharkov, Zakarpatye, Zaporozhye and Kiev areas, as well as in the Crimea.

In March 2001 the US embassy in Ukraine announced a new ”Project Internet for public libraries", with a total budget of 400,000 dollars. The programme finances Internet-centers in at least fifteen public libraries.

Most Ukrainian ISPs offer subscribers free web-space of around 5-10Mb on their server.

The world annual growth rate of the Internet is 50-55 %. Growth in Ukraine is running at 40%. In terms of numbers of hosts Ukraine ranks 28th in Europe and 45th in the world. In terms of Internet users per 100,000 of population, Ukraine takes penultimate place in Europe, with only Byelorussia having fewer users.

Information spread on the Internet in Ukraine is as follows: management-related information accounts for 47%, directory resources for 16.6%, entertainment for 14.8%, while research and educational information takes up about 4.4%.

Only 1.3% of servers carry information on public authorities and government agencies and 6% carry electronic versions of mass media. Information on Ukrainian web sites is usually presented in Russian. There are some bilingual sites (using varying proportions of Russian, Ukrainian and English), and a few trilingual sites.

Ukraine has more than 320 newspapers and journals on the web, some of which have no print equivalent. There are also 28 sites for political parties and 335 personal pages belonging to politicians and businessmen.

There is currently no censorship of information on the Internet, nor is there any legislation regulating Internet censorship. Certain measures have been accepted as necessary to limit pornography and other unacceptable material; references to such sites are, for example, excluded from public listings and website statistics.



Domain names in the Ukraine

Ukraine website addresses are assigned either to one of the common international domains (.com, .net or .org) or to the geographical domain .ua (registered in December 1992).

A prominent feature of the domain .ua is the comparatively small number of second level domains; there are currently 26 covering areas with a unique three-digit telephone code. The domain names were assigned according to major cities in the relevant area, for example cherkassy.ua, odessa.ua. Most of these geographical domains have alternative, shorter names. For example, the alternative domain name for dnepropetrovsk.ua is dp.ua. This system of alternative names has not been finally agreed yet and is the theme of extensive discussion amongst Ukrainian ISPs.

Apart from geographical domains, there are five universal suffixes for organizations registered in the .ua domain, according to their type:
    com.ua - commercial organizations;

    gov.ua - government agencies;

    net.ua - suppliers of network services;

    edu.ua - educational organizations;

    org.ua - other organizations (not commercial).


The .ua domain is managed by the UA NCG (Network Coordination Group). There are now 36,000 hosts and 16,000 zones in the registered in the .ua domain. The number of hosts increased by 29% in 2000.



State policy on information technologies

The state encourages and maintains development of the Internet in Ukraine. This has been done, for example, through the President’s decree “On measures for development of a national constituent of the global information network and maintenance of wide access to that network in Ukraine ” (no. 928/2000, dated 31.07.2000) and the draft State Program for Internet development in Ukraine, to be carried out in line with this decree. The purpose of the Program is the facilitation of wide access to the Internet for individuals and businesses, the availability of national information resources on the web, and the speeding up of integration by Ukraine into the European framework. The draft program is now under consideration by Parliament.

The State Committee on Communication and “Informatization” was created with the aim of harmonising scientific, technical and political aspects of electronic development.. The Committee also controls distribution and use of radio frequencies. A law “On radio frequency resources” was passed in June 2000.

On April 3 2001 the People's Deputies of Ukraine considered the draft of a telecommunications law. The bill regulates legal, economic and administrative aspects of activities by public and local authorities and consumers in telecommunications services. An administrative bill regulates privacy and data protection of telecommunications, the classification of services, their provision, the activities of telecommunications agencies, government administration and licensing of services. A separate chapter of the bill regulates the licensing and registration of telecommunications agencies.

A program of “informatization” for educational institutions and the computerization of village schools has also been set up. The Ministry of Science and Education has plans to connect more than 200 village schools to the Internet in 2001 , and around 3,000 over a period of four years . More than 240 schools in Kiev now have access to the Internet.

The Internet in Ukraine is increasingly being used to inform people of about state activities. There are now 62 servers carrying this information, with web-pages for the Administration of the President of Ukraine, the Ukraine Parliament (Verhovna Rada), the Cabinet of Ministers, the Council for National Security and Defence, the Supreme Arbitration Court, eleven Ministries, seventeen State Committees and other central executive bodies, six regional and ten urban and district councils.



Licensing of ISPs

The provision of internet services is not included in the list of economic activities subject to licensing (as stated by the Law of Ukraine "On licensing certain kinds of economic activities". According to this law, however, radio services and frequencies, telecommunication services, and technical maintenance of commercial television, radio, and cable networks are all subject to licensing regulations. This could include some ISPs. Under the law "On activities in space ", relevant activities are subject to licensing. The National Space Agency of Ukraine, for example, licenses the operation of satellite channels for data transmission. Larger ISPs have built their own networks for transferring data, for which they must obtain a license from the Ministry of Communications of Ukraine.

The Internet Association of Ukraine was created in December 2000, with the aims of:
  • Coordinating efforts and information exchange between Internet users in Ukraine.

  • Lobbying public authorities and international organizations on behalf of the interests of Ukrainian Internet users.

  • Assisting public authorities in developing an appropriate legal base for the Ukrainian sector of the Internet.


Under the terms of this project, a Ukrainian internet hub was set up in August 2000 to promote and maximize links between Ukrainian ISPs to develop means for information exchange amongst them which does not depend on foreign networks.



Sources

1. UA Network Information Center. http://nic.net.ua

2. Domain UA history and status. http://nic.net.ua/doc/ua-doc.txt

3. UA top-level domain policy. http://nic.net.ua/doc/ua-policy.txt

4. Alternative second level domains in domain UA. http://nic.net.ua/doc/a2ld

5. State Committee for Statistics in Ukraine. Figures for communications enterprises in Ukraine for the first half of 2000. http://www.ukrstat.gov.ua/expres_sv/280.htm

6. Performance of Oleg Shevchuk, the Chairman of State the State Committee for Communication and Informatization in Ukraine, on collegiate organ 28.02.2001. http://www.stc.gov.ua/_news/0103011500.html

7. The President of Ukraine, L. Kuchma, speaking about the development of the Internet in Ukraine. An excerpt from the the President’s speech to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine " On the domestic and international situation of Ukraine in 2000 ". http://www.stc.gov.ua/_news/0103301220.html

8. “The face of the network”. MIGNews.com.ua 25.11.2000

9. “The man under 30 with ten hryvnas in his pocket”. MIGNwes.com.ua 03.03.2001

10. “Ukrainian hub for Internet traffic is created”. MIGNews.com.ua 2.09.2000

11. Resolution of the first congress of the Internet Association of Ukraine. http://igroup.sl.com.ua

12. Legislation of Ukraine http://www.rada.kiev.ua/laws/pravo/all/zak1.htm



Euro-IR Project Main Index