The digital gap between town and country is still large, especially in the area of high-speed connections with over 1 GBit / s. Corresponding bandwidths are available on average in 20 percent of households across Germany in rural areas, compared to 77 percent in urban areas. The city-states of Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin even offer gigabit availability that is between 96 and 92 percent of households.
Far behind, according to the new broadband atlas published on Friday, are the eastern federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia with a gigabit rate of 19 and 28 percent respectively. In Saxony, only 45 percent of households can book such a fast Internet connection, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 50 percent.
Copper-based technologies play a bigger role
It looks much better with the availability of bandwidths in the range of over 100 Mbit / s, where the copper-based technologies DSL and VDSL play a significantly larger role. Inhabitants of rural areas can access corresponding connections in 66 percent of the homes, in semi-urban areas it is 83 percent, in cities 96 percent directly. With bandwidths of around 16 Mbit / s, 93 percent of households in rural areas will be served.
The Atlas as of the end of 2020 created the federal broadband office Atene Kom on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. For this purpose, the experts calculated the availability for each technology and bandwidth as a percentage of the total number of households, companies in commercial areas, schools and hospitals in the respective grid cell with a size of 250 x 250 meters.
“Gigabit for everyone – we are on track”
Overall, there is basically nothing to prevent surfing at gigabit speeds in all of Germany in 59 percent of households. 67 percent get 400 Mbit / s, 89 percent get 100 Mbit / s. For connections above 1 Gbit / s, fiber optics are available for 15 percent, and cable connections for 53 percent. In commercial areas, 47 percent of companies can access 1 GBit / s and more. The availability for hospitals is 42 percent and that for schools 37 percent.
The Federal Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Andreas Scheuer, underlines the positive aspects of the report: “Gigabit for everyone – we are on course”, is the motto of the CSU politician. Last year almost 20,000 households with gigabit networks were added every day, a total of 6.6 million more households than in 2019: “This is a mega-success!”
State broadband subsidy
Even if, after years of state broadband funding, more excavators are now rolling, Germany is already lagging far behind in the EU in terms of fiber optic connections to the apartment or building, complained Béla Waldhauser, spokesman for the Alliance for Strengthening Digital Infrastructures of the eco-Association of the Internet Industry, on Wednesday. Only four percent of the houses are connected, which equates to a “catastrophe”.
“According to the Basic Law, the expansion of communications networks in Germany is organized privately,” emphasizes the Ministry of Transport. “The state may only intervene if the company does not expand, for example due to very low profitability.” In rural regions in particular, the federal government will then support the digging of lines through the broadband expansion funding program. Of the around 12 billion euros currently available for this, around 8.2 billion are tied up in over 2150 projects, with which around 2.6 million connections could be created. Critics point to sluggish approval procedures and a slow outflow of funds.