May 2017 - Doing Business in Germany | Broadband Expansion

Digital Infrastructure in Germany

Despite all the political efforts and advancements in broadband expansion, company decision-makers in all sectors in Germany continue to see a need for improvement in digital infrastructure. The eco Association sees broadband rollout as the most important infrastructure project in the near future.

eco & YouGov survey

Credit: eco Association & YouGov

Digital Infrastructure in Germany Still in Need of Improvement According to Business Decision-Makers: eco Survey

Around one quarter of German business decision-makers are unsatisfied with the digital infrastructure at their company location, according to the findings of a representative survey carried out by the market research institute YouGov on behalf of eco – Association of the Internet Industry in March 2017 among company decision-makers. “High-speed Internet connections and networks are the prerequisite for innovations and competitiveness in the age of digitalization. The survey shows that we are still a long way from the goal here. This means that broadband rollout remains the most important infrastructure project in coming years and must be decisively pushed forward,” says Oliver Süme, eco Board Member for Policy & Law. As a result, in the next legislative term there also needs to be intensive discussions about financing models, the role of the state, and the requirement for public subsidization, according to Süme. He believes the objective should be that every household in Germany can access Internet at the speed of 1Gbit/s by 2025. For many enterprises, as well, access to multi-gigabit-capable networks and the direct connection to fiber optic infrastructure is indispensable.

Broadband expansion: Investment incentives particularly interesting for companies

Particularly in rural regions of Germany, where the German “Mittelstand” (SMEs) is strongly represented and the challenges for infrastructure expansion are especially big, it is necessary to provide incentives to the industry in order to drive forward digital transformation, in the eyes of eco. Existing funding arrangements for this are still not sufficient. One potential solution would be investment incentive models like the Broadband Voucher Scheme already established in the UK. Around one third of the managers surveyed would find such subsidization of broadband connections interesting for their company, according to the survey. 37% were also interested in better support for the take-up of broadband-based services in companies, and 29% in programs for the creation of awareness of digitalization and digital competence.

Study by the eco Association and YouGov on Digital Infrastructure in Germany

What are the parties planning in the election year? eco’s Internet policy check on the topic of digital infrastructure

eco is active in the coming months in advance of the 2017 German federal election in a digital policy campaign running under the motto “Wahl/Digital 2017”. The objective of the campaign is to discuss the important policy topics concerning the Internet and digitalization through events, publications, and online offers, and to raise awareness of important digital policy issues and challenges. The focal topic for April was “Digital Infrastructure & Networks”

An infographic on the eco survey is available here. An interview with eco’s CEO Harald Summa on the challenges of digitalization can be found here.

Further information on eco’s digital policy campaign (in German) can be found here: