Germany needs 20 billion euros for broadband upgrade: document

Ethernet cables used for internet connections are pictured in a Berlin office
Ethernet cables used for internet connections are pictured in a Berlin office, August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

November 10, 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany needs to invest some 20 billion euros ($23 billion) by 2025 on a national broadband upgrade, four parties seeking to form a coalition government said on Friday in a document seen by Reuters.

The four parties, which include Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, wrote in a joint paper they would make upgrading to broadband a priority.

Germany lags behind other industrialized countries on digitization, and politicians are facing calls to ramp up investment to avert a loss of industrial competitiveness.

The smaller parties in talks to form a new government, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and environmentalist Greens, have called for the government to sell its stake in Deutsche Telekom to help fund the upgrade.

But there was no mention of assets sales in the position paper presented at the end of another week of coalition talks following Merkel’s narrow election victory in late September.

The FDP want to sell the government’s entire 31.9 percent holding in Deutsche Telekom. The Greens propose parking the 14.5 percent of Telekom that is directly controlled by the government at a state development bank, raising 10 billion euros.

Merkel’s conservatives, meanwhile, want to allocate 3 billion euros a year from the budget to build a 5G network that complements the fiber-optic push. They say the public finances are strong enough, without resorting to asset sales. ($1 = 0.8586 euros)

(Reporting by Markus Wacket and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Douglas Busvine)

  • Mountainhiker

    One missing ingredient is the TIME that it would take to upgrade everyone in Germany to broadband, and, what that means in terms of speed at the end user level. A 5G network sounds good but does that mean all day or only from 1 to 5 in the morning. .

  • William Thompson

    Hopefully we won’t pay for it.

  • William Everett Hendry bhendry

    Take up a collection from the million terrorist you invited into your beautiful country who will never speak a word of German. Fools!

  • William Everett Hendry bhendry

    Take up a collection from the million terrorist you invited into your beautiful country who will never speak a word of German. Fools!