Office furniture manufacturer Vario has been begging for a high-speed internet connection for years. The company isn’t located in the boondocks but just outside Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt and it’s struggling to run a business with a bit rate that often feels like molasses dripping from a bottle.
Mid-size companies like Vario, which form the backbone of Germany’s economy, “feel abandoned” by network operators, especially Deutsche Telekom, said Vario’s IT director Volker Schwinn. Many of these so-called hidden champions, he noted, are located in smaller towns still outside the reach of the fiber-optic networks being built in metropolitan areas by Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s largest facilities-based operator and other providers. Vario is just 1.5 kilometers outside of the greater Frankfurt metropolitan area. “It’s really depressing how bad the high-speed internet coverage is in an economic powerhouse like Germany,” Mr. Schwinn noted.