German fibre broadband provider Deutsche Glasfaser is planning to roll out Gigabit speed broadband services to homes in ten pilot sites across Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, starting with Thallwitz and Kollau. The deployment is part of a strategic partnership with utility firm Envia Group and is intended to boost capacity in the area, where Glasfaser claims speeds are currently limited to just 10Mbps. Mayor of Thallwitz municipality Thomas Poge was quoted by the operator as saying: ‘Digitisation must also be carried out in the countryside. We are pleased to have found a partner with Deutsche Glasfaser, which enables us to provide our municipality with a stable and super-fast infrastructure within approximately twelve to 15 months.’ In order to proceed with the rollout, however, Glasfaser requires 40% of residents in the area to approve the deployment. However, residents that agree to sign up to the operator’s services during this initial period will not have to pay the usual EUR750 (USD885) connection fee.
In a related development, Deutsche Telekom (DT) has defended its strategy of using VDSL Vectoring technology to upgrade copper lines in the short to medium term. ZD Net cites a statement from the company as saying that the platform is ‘the only way to provide people in rural areas with faster lines quickly.’ Explaining the move, DT noted: ‘If we are fixated on fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), those in the countryside will remain left behind for years. It is simply impossible to roll out fibre lines to homes everywhere in the country. Neither the construction capacity nor the funding is available for that.’ The operator is planning to provide broadband access via fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) – augmented with vectoring technology – to 80% of households with potential data transfer rates of up to 50Mbps. This is due to be upgraded with so-called ‘super vectoring’ from 2018, whilst the operator’s LTE network is expected to cover 95% of the population, allowing customers theoretical peak speeds of 550Mbps by combining DSL/LTE through a hybrid router.