Summary of broadband development in Germany
The federal government has developed a framework for action with the 5G Strategy for Germany, launched in summer 2017, in order to support network expansion and the development of 5G applications at an early stage. In November 2019, the German government has approved a mobile communications strategy. The aim of the strategy is to ensure nationwide supply of mobile voice and data services.
In the coalition agreement of the German Federal Government from 2021, the digital infrastructure was set as one of the priorities with a goal of the nationwide supply of FTTH and 5G networks by 2025. The federal Digital Strategy and the Gigabit Strategy for Germany from 2022 aims at the nationwide supply with fibre optic and the latest mobile communications technologies of all areas by 2030.
National broadband strategy and policy
- The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr, BMDV) is responsible for broadband development and the implementation of the federal government’s broadband strategy.
- The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz) promotes the key areas of digital infrastructure and transport infrastructure.
- The Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (Bundesnetzagentur) is responsible for implementing the regulatory framework laid down in EU and national law.
- The Federal Gigabit Bureau (Gigabitbüro des Bundes) has been designated as a national broadband competence centre. It maintains contact with the broadband competence centres of the federal states.
Main aims for broadband development
In the coalition agreement of the German Federal Government 2021, digital infrastructure is one of the national priorities. The goal is the nationwide supply of FTTH and 5G. The commercial expansion has priority. Investments in the spots where the need to catch up is greatest will be prioritised, especially white areas. Open Access under fair conditions and net neutrality are the underlying principles. Where necessary, funding by means of vouchers will be initiated.
The overarching goal of the Gigabit Strategy, published in July 2022, is the nationwide, energy- and resource-efficient supply with FTTH and the latest mobile communications technologies of all areas where people live, work and travel - even in rural areas, by 2030. Increased incentives for self-sufficient expansion and better framework conditions for subsidies are planned. As a first step, an increase in the supply with fibre optic connections to 50% of all households and companies by the end of 2025 is planned. In mobile communications, uninterrupted wireless voice and data services for all end users nationwide by 2026.
The federal Digital Strategy for Germany, launched in August 2022, aims at nationwide coverage with fibre optic connections, digitalisation of administrative services for a modern and inclusive state and innovations from business and research for the benefit of all people by 2030. The strategy foresees that by 2025 half of all households and businesses have connectivity by fibre.
Main measures for broadband development
- The Telekommunikationsgesetz (TKG) was amended in December 2021 and introduced the right of all citizens to the availability of voice communication services and internet access services.
- Broadband mapping: as a central information point, the broadband atlas shows broadband penetration and availability. Furthermore, the Bundesnetzagentur has launched a nationwide infrastructure atlas to facilitate the use of synergies in infrastructure deployment. The atlas contains spatial data about the infrastructure of companies and institutions, such as geo-data about fibre optic lines, empty ducts, radio towers and masts as well as radio stations.
- With its mobile communications strategy, the Federal government has announced major plans to improve its mobile coverage. The Federal Government is working with countries and municipalities to implement a mix of different measures. This includes:
- the creation of transparency regarding the actual supply situation as well as monitoring of the mobile network expansion,
- the identification of infrastructure and properties that the Federal Government can provide for the construction of masts,
- the provision of EUR 1.1 billion for the development of up to 5,000 unpowered areas,
- relieving local authorities of the implementation of the support program in order to ensure effective and cost-effective expansion,
- the identification of acceleration potentials in mobile network expansion in cooperation with countries and municipalities.
- In its roadmap to implement the Connectivity Toolbox, Germany refers to assessing mobile network technologies and roll-out strategies as to their environmental impact, to a nationwide electromagnetic fields (EMF) measuring campaign, and to the new public company MIG that supports access to physical infrastructure.
- The Gigabit Strategy foresees measures that will simplify, speed up and digitise permit granting, strengthen use of alternative deployment methods, provide more transparency and improved legal framework.
National and regional broadband financial instruments
The federal states in Germany support broadband development with a number of measures and financial means. Some of the current measures are:
- Federal funding programme (Förderprogramm zum Breitbandausbau): this programme supports network expansion to provide high-speed broadband networks in underserved areas. The support of the federal state permits nationwide expansion of minimum 1 Gbps connections in areas that were previously underserved. The maximum amount of federal funding per project is EUR 30 million.
- Combination with other funding programmes, e.g. from the federal states, is possible and can be added to cover the remaining co-financing. An overview of ongoing and completed funding processes in different federal states (Bundesländer) can be found at Breitband-Ausschreibungen.
Other financial measures:
- The German government-owned development bank KfW offers the loan 208 IKK to municipalities to support investments in infrastructure including broadband infrastructure. Though the loan is capped at EUR 150 million annually, it can be combined with financial resources from public funding.
- The Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank also offers loans to support projects intending to establish or improve communication infrastructure including broadband networks in rural areas.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Germany
For the latest data on broadband coverage, subscriptions and penetrations, coverage of different broadband technologies and costs check the scoreboard reports and the country reports of the Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI).
Spectrum assignments for wireless broadband
For details on harmonised spectrum assignments consult the European 5G Observatory.
National publications and press documents
- Implementation strategy of the Federal Government "Shaping the digitalisation"
- 5G Strategy for Germany
- Gigabit Initiative for Germany
- Study on National Broadband Plans
- Guide to High-Speed Broadband Investment
- Broadband Connectivity Reports and Analyses
- Mobile and fixed broadband prices in Europe
- Study on broadband coverage in Europe
- Zukunftsoffensive Gigabit-Deutschland
- Digitale Strategie 2025
- Digitalisierung gestalten, Umsetzungsstrategie der Bundesregierung
- Koalitionsvertrag 2021
- Gigabitstrategie der Bundesregierung 2030
- Digitalstrategie Deutschland