Telecom Associations Urge German Government to Trim Gigabit Funding

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Several prominent German telecoms associations, including ANGA, Bitkom, BREKO, BUGLAS, and VATM, have united in a call to the German government, urging a reduction in funding for fibre-optic projects. Citing concerns over the overwhelming response to the German Gigabit funding program, the associations propose a cut in funding to €1 billion between 2024-2026. They emphasize the need for targeted allocations to prevent overburdening limited construction capacity, which often results in a bottleneck effect on the rollout.

Under the current “Gigabit funding 2.0” system, subsidies are distributed through a points-based mechanism launched last year. The associations argue that a streamlined approach will avoid delays in completing subsidized projects, potentially saving three to five years compared to private sector expansions.

Last week, the German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport disclosed a total of €3.6 billion for the expansion of fibre-optic networks in 2023. This allocation facilitated the establishment of 638,000 additional fibre-based connections in approximately 2,300 municipalities.

Federal Minister Volker Wissing expressed the goal of achieving universal fiber-optic connections and the latest mobile communication standards by 2030. While most connections result from private investments, targeted funding aims to bridge gaps in regions where telecoms expansion is economically unviable.

The associations’ plea, however, has raised eyebrows, with some German politicians, such as Christian democrat member Reinhard Brandl, criticizing the proposed funding reduction. Brandl stated, “In my view, limiting the funds for this is, therefore, the completely wrong approach,” echoing concerns about potential setbacks in achieving widespread connectivity.

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