Gigabit access in Germany: lagging behind in international comparison, but also little demand

DIW Weekly Report 25/2018 – Digital Infrastructure

The expansion of broadband Internet is currently the subject of intense debate. However, Germany is still lagging behind the targets set. Although almost 100 per cent of households now have broadband connections of up to six megabits per second, Germany still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of gigabit-capable connections – especially in sparsely populated regions.

On the demand side, copper cable connections are the technology with the largest market share, while pure fibre optic connections play only a downstream role with one to two per cent. The need to catch up is apparent in an international comparison: the OECD average for fibre optic connections in demand on the overall broadband market is 21 per cent.

At present, a still insufficient willingness to pay and the high costs of expansion are slowing down both demand and the development of supply. But demand is growing steadily. To build a nationwide gigabit infrastructure by 2025, a suitable combination of regulation for private-sector-driven expansion and effective government funding policies is needed.

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