Infrastructure

Deutsche Telekom defends record on expanding broadband services

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has defended its record on expanding broadband services, after the country’s digital focus became a hot topic leading up to the federal election campaign. Deutsche Telekom has focused on upgrading its copper network with new VDSL techniques, and some have criticized the company for not investing more in full fiber networks (FTTH).

In response to the criticism, Deutsche Telekom highlighted figures from the EU Commission that say Germany is one of the leading European nations with coverage of more than 80 percent for super-fast connections (next generation access with more than 30Mbps. The company said it relies on VDSL because it’s the fastest way to connect rural areas.

Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) is very fast broadband. It uses your copper phone line more efficiently so you get a faster connection than ADSL broadband. 

“It is simply impossible to install glass fibers right up to the houses,” the company said in a blog post on its website. “There are neither the civil engineering capabilities nor the financial resources for this. And, by the way, no demand.”

Also, that’s not to say that Deutsche Telekom isn’t implementing fiber. Since 2010, the company said it has added an average of 25,00km per year. With over 455,000 km, Deutsche Telekom has “by far the largest fiber-optic network in Germany,” the company said. By comparison, Vodafone comes to less than 60,000km.

Deutsche Telekom said has committed to provide 80 percent of households with at least 50 megabits per second. “This is what we do, and this includes raisin-picking per se,” the company said. “There is no self-obligation from other companies, especially from the cable network operators.”

The company also expressed the need for cooperation because “no company can expand Germany alone.” Telekom cooperates with local fibre operators such as NetCologne, Ewe Tel and Innogy. 

With its broadband expansion in fixed-line and mobile communications, Deutsche Telekom is “creating the prerequisite for the next communications standard 5G,” it said, which will enable the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous cars.