If the broadband market in Germany were a sports competition, everyone would know they’re in for some rivalry. The rules would be clear to the referee and athletes alike, with penalties awaiting those who broke them.
Providing broadband Internet to Germans, of course, isn’t a sport but a business. And though there are rules, they appear to be debatable, threatening to obscure the actual aim of ensuring as many people have access to high-speed Internet as possible.
Representatives of the German telecommunications industry have met with the federal network agency to discuss a petition from Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s former telecommunications monopolist, about expanding broadband service. Telekom doesn’t want competitors to have their own infrastructure at important network nodes. The reason is that the operator wants to use its own technology for providing high-speed Internet via old copper wires. Around six million people would benefit as a result, the carrier argues.
Rivals warn of a new monopoly arising at the expense of both competition and consumers.
The federal government wants all of Germany to have access to high-speed Internet by 2018. That is a worthy and important objective – given that Europe’s largest economy still lags behind several European countries. And if Germany’s politicians and enterprises are serious about establishing a digital platform for manufacturing, know as Industry 4.0, they need extensive high-speed Internet coverage.