Digitalization is a fundamental technological trend of our time which opens up a wide range of new opportunities for both industry and society. For example, new business models and forms of communication are created, products become more individual, medical diagnoses and treatments better, transport safer, energy consumption lower and our daily life as a whole more comfortable. There is hardly any field of life not affected by digital transformation in any form.
We want as many people and companies in Germany as possible to benefit from the opportunities of digital transformation. The prerequisite for this is nationwide coverage with a high performance digital infrastructure. In a first step, a download rate of at least 50 Mbit/s is to be available for all households in Germany by 2018. However, in the medium to long term, gigabit-ready networks will be a decisive factor for economic growth and increasing prosperity.
With the Digital Agenda that was adopted in 2014, the Federal Government has already paved the way towards the Digital Society. In the same year, the “Network Alliance for a Digital Germany” was launched. This Alliance consists of large and small companies and their associations and is aimed at activating broadband deployment in Germany driven by the market. Within this Network Alliance, we are defining common goals and milestones and, each year, the companies involved make a clear investment commitment.
However, market driven broadband deployment runs into difficulties where deployment is no longer economically efficient. This is especially the case in rural and sparsely populated regions. Funding measures by the Federal Government and the federal states aim to close this gap. The broadband funding programme of the Federal Government was introduced in November 2015 and has been well received by municipalities.
To speed up nationwide broadband deployment, it is appropriate to make use of synergies and optimize the entire deployment process. For example, more transparency, sharing the networks with more users and the obligation to deploy broadband within the framework of existing infrastructure and new construction projects can significantly reduce costs. The DigiNetz Act that was adopted in November 2016 is aimed at exactly this.
With the coverage obligations from the auction of freed-up radio frequencies (also known as the Second Digital Dividend), we provide an almost nationwide LTE coverage to German households. Federal motorways and ICE lines throughout Germany will be connected to the LTE network. For the future Gigabit society and applications scenarios like automated and connected driving, the next mobile radio generation 5G , in particular, will be crucial. In September 2016 we therefore launched a 5G initiative that is to prepare a comprehensive 5G strategy for Germany. It is the aim of the Federal Government to position Germany as the lead market for 5G applications and to support a quick and successful introduction of 5G technology.
An essential information medium of the Federal Government on broadband availability in Germany for private and commercial purposes is the Broadband Atlas. This platform is continuously updated and further developed; it can be accessed by all interested parties at any time and free of charge. The Federal Government's Broadband Office acts as a central contact point for all questions related to the issues of broadband deployment and promotion. In seminars and workshops, but also in direct contact, citizens, policymakers from municipalities and representatives of companies receive competent answers to their questions.