Europe
German broadband association urges gov't to boost high-speed internet provision
Last Updated: 2018-11-30 13:54 | Xinhua
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The German Broadband Association (Breko) in Germany urged the country's government on Thursday to do more to boost the provision of high-speed internet.

Speaking during the annual Breko conference in Berlin, Iris Henseler-Unger, director of the Scientific Institute for Infrastructure and Communications Services (wik), highlighted that "only half" of German households would be connected to broadband networks by 2025 if the expansion continued at the current pace.

According to a study compiled by Henseler-Unger's institute for Breko, 80 to 90 percent of costs associated with the establishment of broadband networks owe to the use of personnel, material and machines. The expansion of high speed was further hampered by capacity bottlenecks in underground engineering in Germany and resulting costs.

Henseler-Unger argued that the findings were indicative of a discrepancy between political expectations of broadband providers and their actual situation. A joint effort was consequently needed from all stakeholders, ranging from telecommunications providers, civil engineers to the government.

The federal government in Germany is scheduled to hold an auction to grant licenses for the new high-speed 5G mobile communications standard in early 2019 which is seen as a key pre-condition for the expansion of self-driving vehicles and the so-called "Internet of Things." Earnings from the tender will flow into the digital fund of the federal government in Berlin which has been set up to improve the availability of high-speed internet among others.

Several studies have pointed to poor high-speed internet provision as a worrying aspect of a wider trend of deteriorating infrastructure quality which threatens to undermine the international competitiveness of German businesses.

In a recent survey of companies preferred European investment locations by the accountancy Ernst & Young (EY), only 15 percent of respondents expressed a high level of confidence that Germany was a country where digital business models could flourish.

Stephan Albers, the director of Breko, expressed hope on Thursday that his own organization could help unite forces among its membership to advance the cause of broadband expansion. Albers announced that Breko would host a "Fiber Days" conference in the course of 2019, including an "underground construction auction", in a bid to bring network operators and civil engineers together.

Founded in 1999, Breko represents the majority of all German alternative fixed line broadband network operators. The association with more than 300 members, including 170 city and regional carriers, as well as municipal utilities, invests over 1.5 billion euros each year in the provision of high-performance fiber access to rural and areas in Germany.

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