German gigabit network scheme receives EC approval

18 Nov 2020

The European Commission (EC) has approved a scheme to support the deployment of gigabit broadband networks in Germany, particularly in rural and unserved areas. The scheme aims to develop a new, publicly financed very high capacity connectivity infrastructure that will deliver faster internet for households, companies and public institutions in the country. It will have an estimated national budget of EUR6 billion (USD7.1 billion), which will be complemented by contributions to the individual projects from regional and local budgets, for an overall estimated budget of up to EUR12 billion.

In order to prioritise households which are most in need, Germany will firstly focus on connecting households that have access to speeds of less than 100Mbps. Secondly, from 2023 support will also be available for the deployment of gigabit infrastructure for households that already have access to speeds of 100Mbps, but not to a network which already provides speeds of 1Gbps. With the implementation of this second step, Germany aims to make gigabit networks available for all citizens by the end of 2025.

The scheme ensures that the supported networks will be open to other operators competing on the new infrastructure by requiring the provision of wholesale access, including through physical unbundling. The aid will be awarded based on open, transparent and non-discriminatory tenders, with all technologies being able to compete for provision of the service.