The Commission of the European Union (EU) announced on Friday the approval of Germany’s plans to support the expansion of a super-fast Internet network with up to 12,000 million euros (about 14,000 million dollars). The announcement was made by Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner.
This money is intended for so-called gigabit networks to be installed also in places where it is not profitable for network operators, that is, especially in rural areas.
The grand government coalition in Germany, made up of Merkel’s Conservatives and Social Democrats, had set itself the goal of expanding fiber-optic connections so that by 2025 gigabit networks would be available in all regions and in all the country’s communities.
The funding program is intended to help in areas where, for competitive reasons, expansion is not expected. Funding comes from a digital fund; thus up to 6 billion euros will come from the central government and another equal sum from the regional and local budgets.
Vestager highlighted that the digital shift in Europe is critically dependent on high-quality networks, noting that the German arrangement would significantly improve the offer in Germany while at the same time stimulating investments in regions where they are most urgently needed.
The financing has been approved in two stages: the first stage will support the expansion of networks for homes that currently only have access to an Internet connection of less than 100 megabits per second.
In a second stage, starting in 2023, support will be given to the construction of a gigabit infrastructure for homes that already have access to an Internet connection of 100 megabits per second, but not to a very high-speed network of up to one gigabit per second.