Alexander Dobrindt, Germany’s federal minister of transport and digital infrastructure was a happy man this week. The member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats, presented his first report to the government coalition committee from what is being called the “network alliance” – and declared himself pleased with its progress.
The alliance is a commitment between the chief executives of telecommunications providers such as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and EWE Tel to help Mr. Dobrindt achieve his goal of offering fast Internet to every home in Germany. The aim is to deliver a broadband connection with a transmission speed of at least 50 megabytes per second by 2018. Apart from that commitment, the report contained many good intentions but few specifics.
The companies want to invest around €8 billion into the network expansion next year.
Next year, Mr. Dobrindt wants to auction wireless frequencies across which providers could distribute the high-speed Internet service. Revenues would flow into network expansion. The minister is hoping for revenues in the billions, but the agreement with the countries responsible for frequencies is still pending.
The companies want to invest around €8 billion ($10.1 billion) into the network expansion next year, once basic conditions and regulations are negotiated, according to industry sources.
“The pressure is good,” Timotheus Höttges, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive, told Handelsblatt. Strategic discussions would be initiated early on topics such as dealing preferentially with important data without jeopardizing net neutrality.
Mr. Höttges announced that Deutsche Telekom will soon offer a nationwide high-speed Internet service. The company intends to increase its high-speed coverage area from 77 percent to 85 percent by 2016. Government support of the network expansion will be necessary if revenues do not cover costs.
Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, has made digitalization a high priority in Germany, and high-speed internet is already available to 64 percent of households.
Daniel Delhaes is an editor in the Handelsblatt Berlin office. To contact the author: email@example.com