Germany to invest heavily in broadband expansion

Berlin wants nationwide access to high-speed broadband by 2018. [Sean MacEntee/Flickr]

The German government wants all households to have access to broadband internet by 2018. Rural areas are to be prioritised. EURACTIV Germany reports.

To achieve this target, German Minister of Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt will make €2.7 billion available to the country’s regions. This funding will mainly serve as incentive for the private sector to expand into low-profit rural areas.

The German cabinet will meet today (21 October) to decide on funding for the expansion of the broadband network.

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Dobrindt is responsible for digital infrastructure and intends to allocate €2.7 billion nationwide in order to provide every household with access to internet speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2018. A cabinet paper acquired by Munich-based broadcaster Bayerischen Rundfunk, and Reuters, states that “this is to ensure that under-served areas benefit from funding”.

To ensure economically sustainable development, 50% of the expansion costs would have to be subsidised. Communities or regions that are below the German average in terms of economic power could receive an additional 20% in subsidies. The maximum grant for a project would be €15 million, but joint bids between municipalities will also be accepted. For the purposes of achieving the 2018 target, regional aid money might also be provided.

The allocation of funds will be established through the use of a points system. Rural areas, which are particularly unattractive to broadband providers due to the high costs involved in installing infrastructure, will rank higher in the system, as they are more in need of government funding. Additionally, areas in which internet speeds are below 16 Mbps will also be prioritised.

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Bonus points will be awarded to funding applicants who can provide 100 Mbps, without using additional technology. To achieve these higher speeds, increased investment will be needed, but will provide internet users with more application options.

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