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Right Question for Germany's Philipp Rösler: "What about the other 30% of Germans"
Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:33


Rosler Kurth, HomannDr. Rosler: "How will we get high speeds for the 30% of Germans who can't get cable and Deutsche Telekom probably won't upgrade?"

Two-thirds of Germans can get cable, nearly all of them at 50-100 megabits. To compete, Deutsche Telekom has upgraded about half of the cable homes to 50 meg VDSL and is building to most of the rest. DT has no public plans to reach most of the 30% of so of homes they don't have cable competition. Without government action, about 10M German homes will be in the slow lane for a decade or more.

    Inaugurating Jochen Homann as new chief of the German Network Agency, Minister Rosler claimed the German "telecommunications market is now one of the most dynamic markets in the world." Germany's market is far more competitive than it was thanks to excellent work by the outgoing President, Matthias Kurth. Kurth resisted enormous pressure from DT to give them huge concessions because otherwise "they wouldn't build the upgraded networks." Kurth, influenced by Columbia University's Eli Noam, was confident DT would upgrade to prevent cable taking all the customers. Noam was a prophet; DT is building anyway.

    I asked Kurth a while back about what it will take to get the remaining 25-30% upgraded and he gave me a forthright answer "We still have to work on that." The obvious move is to echo what Ed Richards is doing in Britain, lowering the amount British Telecom can charge competitors for the obsolete copper while allowing them a more generous rate where upgraded. (He probably is setting the latter too high, however.) Until then, in the monopoly areas DT makes more money not investing.

     Rosler owes 25M Germans a close look at what will get them a better Internet.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 02:21