High-speed internet for everyone!

© Gui Yong Nian/Fotolia

High-speed nationwide broadband networks are the basis of the digital world. Germany needs to lead the way in this field. Instead, it languishes at 28th place in global rankings.

You know the feeling: you get all cosy on the sofa on a Sunday evening, start a live TV stream on your tablet, hear the theme tune to your favourite show – and then the picture and sound freeze after a few minutes. Diagnosis: slow internet connection.

It’s not just private users who find a slow connection annoying. For businesses it can also be very costly. And that’s more than a mere annoyance. A high-speed connection with reliable, failsafe quality is the lifeblood of digital applications. Broadband connectivity now plays a big factor when deciding where to locate a business – just as transport connections and energy networks do. The same therefore applies to investment in the broadband infrastructure as applies to other infrastructures: it increases a nation’s capital stock. In Germany, for every euro invested in broadband, a total of 2.58 euros output is generated. Studies show that a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration will result in a 0.9 to 1.5 percent increase in per capita income.

Get home faster thanks to ultrafast broadband

Our society’s biggest challenges require modern broadband networks. This applies, for example, to the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies. In the future a large portion of energy production will be decentralised. Energy consumers will become energy producers. In order to keep the gap between energy demand and energy supply in the grid as small as possible, network management must be well balanced. The same goes for the management of traffic flows. Growing road traffic can be much more efficiently managed through the use of intelligent IT systems. This was emphatically demonstrated by a project carried out in the Swedish capital Stockholm. Thanks to the real-time analysis of 250,000 GPS data points per second, journey times in the city were reduced by 50 percent and emissions reduced by 20 percent. However, this is only possible with a fast and secure communications system. Germany must therefore push through with broadband rollout.

High-speed internet – not only in the city

The German government has realised the importance of this. It wants everyone in Germany to be able to surf the internet at speeds of at least 50 Mbits per seconds by 2018. Currently, just under 70 percent of households can do so. German industry believes that this goal is a step in the right direction. But our country must not settle for 50 Mbits per second. Other countries are already well on the way to becoming “gigabyte societies”. They are helping their companies to make the move to a digitally connected healthcare industry, to digital entertainment services and, above all, to Industry 4.0. German industry finds it especially important that we do not forget about rural areas. Due to the low population densities in rural areas, expansion is often not worthwhile for private telecommunications companies. The state needs to step in here if necessary, because around 70 percent of the country’s jobs in industry are located in rural areas. Many small and medium-sized enterprises, including many “hidden champions”, are based in rural areas. And people there have just as much right as city-dwellers to watch Sunday night TV without any glitches.