Broadband coverage

High-Speed Internet in the Slow Lane

Ländlicher Glasfaser Ausbau in Warendorf
Germany mid-sizes companies are grabbing all the fiber-optic cable they can put their hands on. Source: Guido Kirchner/DPA

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.

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