Tech

Buglas: New allies for the fiber

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Fiberglass production has started – but the self-imposed goals of the Federal Government are still far off. At the annual congress of the Federal Association of Optical Fiber Connection (Buglas) in Niederkassel industry representatives and politicians drew a cautious conclusion on the current expansion plans and funding programs.

According to the current report of the Federal Monopolies Commission, about 12 million new connections would have to be laid by 2025 in order to achieve the gigabit targets of the Federal Government. But at the current expansion pace is not to think about how Buglas board member Patrick Helmes vorrechnete. There are currently 600,000 connections per year. A rapid increase is not to be expected, also thanks to the capacity problems during the deep development and the resulting increase in costs.

One reason for the faltering expansion is the German Telekom and the Vectoring expansion. "As soon as we find a community that can expand, we get cross-cuts," said about the CDU member of parliament Gero Storjohann in Niederkassel. The Green MP Margit Stumpp complained about the ex-monopolist. Fiber optic expansion is not worthwhile if the VDSL infrastructure is offered in parallel. However, as soon as a competitor announced fiber optic plans, Telekom was also pushing ahead with the expansion, so that the municipalities concluded contracts with the Bonn-based company. However, if the expansion was completed with municipal subsidies, the residents looked in the tube. "After 50 meters they do not have the services that were promised," said Stumpp.

heise online / Torsten Kleinz

Annual Congress of the Federal Association of Optical Fiber Connection (Buglas) in Niederkassel. VLnR: Gustav Herzog MP (SPD), Daniela Kluckert MP (FDP), Margit Stumpp MP (Alliance 90 / Greens), Gero Storjohann MP (CDU / CSU).

(Image: heise online / Torsten Kleinz)

Although the Grand Coalition representatives at the Congress also took a very negative view of vectoring expansion, they saw the current efforts as auspicious. Thus, the gigabit expansion is prioritized with the new funding program of the Federal Government. In addition, they are working to set aside regulatory barriers, and to promote, for example, the expansion of significantly cheaper trenching. The SPD MP Gustav Herzog MdB appealed to arrange vectoring as a transitional technique and to look to the future. "Next year, the numbers will look very different," promised the Bundestag in hope of the effects of new funding programs and regulatory simplification in civil engineering.

Of course, the fiber optic providers are not satisfied with such announcements. For example, Nelson Killius, spokesman for the management of the Munich regional provider M-net, called for a clear cut in the copper cable. This is ultimately even in the interest of Telekom. "The colleagues are trapped on this fucking vectoring network," said Kilius. For example, the speeds of 250 MBit per second are still estimated to be five years to meet customer demand. But this would effectively prevent the new investment in new networks, because too many customers opted for the cheaper copper cable. At the same time Vodafone must be abandoned, the cable networks via OpenAccess for competitors release. "We need 50 percent or 60 percent utilization – and that's not possible on our own," said Kilius.

While fiber providers are making steady but slow progress, new providers are pushing the market. For example, the newly founded Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB Broadband presented its fiber optic plans. The transport company has already laid glass fibers along 18,000 kilometers of rail until 2020, and in the coming years this figure is expected to grow to 33,000 kilometers. Since Deutsche Bahn only needs a few glass fibers for its digitization projects, the surplus capacity will in future be available to the market.