Record fibre network expansions in Germany, says BREKO

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German fibre optic association BREKO has released its BREKO market analysis 2021 report.

The market analysis was prepared by surveying 201 network operators across Germany were surveyed in May. In addition, data from publicly available sources were used for verification and to determine overall market figures. The research of the market data as well as the analysis of the survey results were carried out by the strategy consultancy Böcker Ziemen Customer Insight Consultants for BREKO.

Prof. Dr. Jens Böcker, scientific director and author of the study presented its findings to members. He said that the report demonstrates a positive development in fibre optic expansion that will continue in the next few years. 

According to the market analysis, the demand for bandwidth will increase five to six times over the next five years. For private customers this means an increase to 845Mb/s (download) and 302Mb/s (upload), and for business customers the bandwidth demand will be 1.5Gb/s (download) and 92 Mbit/s (upload). 

The report highlighted that the fibre optic quota for connections into buildings and apartments in relation to the total number of households and companies rose to 17.7 per cent by the end of 2020. This corresponds to an increase from 1.9 million to a total of 8.3 million connections throughout Germany, meaning that the dynamic has almost doubled compared to the previous year. The majority of these connections are implemented by alternative network operators (altnets).

For the coming year, the market analysis predicts an increase to almost 11.5 million fibre optic connections in 2021, 7.9 million of which will be implemented by altnets. An increase to 26 million connections is expected by 2024. Of these, 16 million connections were made by altnets and 10 million by incumbent, Deutsche Telekom.

In terms of the take-up rate in relation to the available connections, there was an increase here too, to 43 per cent, despite the significant increase in new fibre optic connections among network operators. In addition, customer demand for fibre optic connections rose faster than any other internet access technologies such as cable or DSL. In the case of fibre, the growth in booked customer connections was 36 per cent.

When it comes to investment, the report found that willingness is high, as is the market dynamic, with a number of new companies and investors. Investments in digital infrastructure rose to a total of €10.5bn euros in 2020, which is a record level. The alternative network operators also dominate here, according to the analysis. For the next five years alone, according to a forecast by the BREKO market analysis, at least €43bn euros will be available for the independent expansion of fibre networks in Germany.

BREKO President Norbert Westfal commented: ‘Last year I said that the expansion of the fibre optic system was picking up speed. Today I can say that we have once again significantly accelerated the expansion and will keep our foot on the gas pedal. Germany’s fibre optic growth rate is also well above average in a European comparison. But we cannot do this alone. ​​Sluggish approval procedures are a bottleneck for expansion, their acceleration and digitisation must be implemented consistently on site. In the next legislature, the topics of overriding importance for digitization, including the digital infrastructure, must be bundled in a digital ministry.’

BREKO managing director Dr. Stephan Albers added: ‘The fibre optic market has developed so far that it can now stand on its own two feet and more and more citizens and companies in Germany can be offered a real fibre optic connection. It is now important for further expansion progress to use the course set by the new Telecommunications Act. It is important that politicians formulate realistic and feasible expansion goals. Companies are not afraid to be measured against the goals of politics, but these must be developed and implemented together with the telecommunications industry. A long-term expansion perspective is also an important signal to the construction industry, so that it becomes more involved in fibre optic expansion and increases its investments in the necessary resources.’

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