According to a new survey, the expansion of high-speed broadband internet is the best way to prevent future crises for the vast majority of German companies. More than 90 percent of the 2,452 companies surveyed answered that further expansion of the digital infrastructure would be suitable or very suitable for making the German economy more resilient.
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This is what the Munich Ifo Institute and the Mannheim Leibniz Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) determined on behalf of the Family Businesses Foundation. More than half of the companies would even consider this a “very suitable” measure to be better prepared for future crises. The question was asked which political measure was considered suitable to increase the resilience of the German economy against crises.
Broadband coverage is often still insufficient
“The corona pandemic has shown that broadband coverage is still insufficient in many regions of Germany,” said Stefan Heidbreder, managing director of the foundation. In the corona pandemic, many companies have taken money into the digitization of work processes. 56 percent of the companies surveyed increased the possibility of working in the home office. And especially larger companies with more than 250 employees invested in the digitization of their sales (41.3 percent).
For its annual monitor, the foundation lets participating companies inquire about changing topics. The study is due to be published in September.
“Right to fast internet” on the go
The Federal Ministries for Economics and for Transport and Digital Infrastructure are planning a “Telecommunications Modernization Act”, which citizens and companies should apply for a right to high-speed Internet access for “appropriate social and economic participation”. The expansion of high-speed fiber optic connections has long been a controversial topic in Germany. The federal government is funding the expansion with enormous sums, of which, however, only a small part has been called up.
According to the Federal Broadband Atlas, coverage in the state fluctuates strongly: In Cologne, for example, the expansion rate is highest at 80 percent, in Berlin it is only 5 percent. A 2019 study showed that the introduction of broadband was causing a noticeable boost to the local economy.