German ISPs have called for radio frequencies to be freed up so that rural villages can get connected to broadband services. At a debate at the CeBIT computer industry fair in Hanover, officials and telecoms executives debated how best to connect isolated districts. It is though that 7% to 8% of households are connected to low-quality copper lines unsuitable for high speed links, while a further 3% to 4% do not even have that, and must rely on expensive satellite uplinks. Bernd Pfaffenbach, secretary of state at the Economics Ministry, called for a ‘joint effort’ to fix the problem, but said he would not order incumbent telco Deutsche Telekom to lay unprofitable wires. He admitted Germany was still ‘years behind comparable nations’ in the spread of broadband. Harald Stoeber, CEO of alternative telco Arcor said Germany’s 16 states had to be prompted to give up frequencies that would soon be released when analogue television is replaced by a fully digital service, adding that radio data signals are used in many countries to create wide area networks where the cost of laying cables is too large.