Broadband Expansion

The Slow Road to High Speed Internet

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany has a long way to go to meet the goal of providing fast internet for everyone by 2018. Ongoing efforts by the government and industry to cooperate are impeded by companies like Deutsche Telekom bypassing official processes.

  • Facts


    • Germany has a goal of providing high speed internet of 50 megabits per second for everyone in the country by 2018.
    • Deutsche Telekom sometimes doesn’t participate in the subsidy tendering process and instead provides broadband internet speeds by upgrading its copper network, an approach rivals call unsustainable.
    • The German government is Deutsche Telekom’s largest shareholder.
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Can Germany reach its goal to supply people with high-speed internet by the end of next year? Source: DPA, Julian Stratenschulte

The government is aiming to supply all citizens with access to broadband internet by the end of 2018, an ambitious goal it’s backed with €4 billion ($4.27 billion) in funding.

But former state-owned telecoms group Deutsche Telekom, the government’s biggest ally in the planned expansion, doesn’t seem to be acting in taxpayers’ interests.

The government still has a 32 percent stake in the company and Deutsche Telekom has promised to provide 80 percent of households with faster internet by the end of next year. The company already controls 40 percent of the country’s broadband market.

But so far, Deutsche Telekom has only supplied 7 percent of households with internet that’s faster than the 50 MB/s minimum set by the government.

In a European comparison, Germany’s internet speed at an average of 13.7 megabits per second still lags behind that of many other countries.

Now, rivals and government officials say Deutsche Telekom is cherry-picking in how and where expands broadband in rural areas where it is harder and more expensive to provide faster internet.

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