Internet Ownership In Georgia
The importance of the Internet as a means of daily communication and a source of information is growing rapidly. The number of Internet users is rising and, consequently, so is the size of the Internet industry. The information obtained from the Internet becomes particularly important during electoral campaigns and could even play a decisive role against the background of the growing threat of disinformation and a low level of media literacy.
Due to the strong public interest, Transparency International Georgia examined the ownership of the large operators in the fixed and mobile Internet markets and their business connections. The study also reviews the question of population's access to the Internet.
Some Internet service providers are registered in offshore jurisdictions and, in some cases, it is difficult to establish who stands behind a particular company unless it also owns a television. According to the law, information about the owners of broadcasters is open to the public.
- Consolidation of the telecommunications market began in 2016. According to 2018 data, Magticom and Silknet controlled 79% of the market in terms of the number of fixed internet service subscribers and received 82% of the total revenues;
- Together will Beeline, Magticom and Silknet control 100% of the mobile internet market;
- According to the data from September 2019, 930,000 physical and legal persons use fixed internet services, while the number of mobile internet service users is 3.3 million.
As the popularity of the internet rises, protection of the personal data of internet users is becoming a pressing issue. Current legislation does not sufficiently protect users from secret surveillance. Nongovernmental organizations and citizens are demanding that the current system of secret surveillance be declared unconstitutional. The case is currently being considered by the Constitutional Court.