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Source: Fotolia / 3dkombinat

The Federal Government has set itself the objective of joining forces with the telecommunications companies to create gigabit networks that provide universal coverage throughout Germany. It will thus continue to fund broadband with gigabit targets in regions in which no market-driven roll-out is taking place. The financial assistance programme has been relaunched and its procedures have been significantly simplified. This is the first major building block in achieving the gigabit targets. It will connect all remaining white spots (available bandwidth ≤ 30 Mbps) directly to the gigabit network.

What's new?

Technology upgrade

Local authorities that have so far gone for copper technology will be given the opportunity for a technology upgrade. They can convert their projects to fibre optic before the end of the year. To this end, the Federal Government is stepping up its share of the funding. It is up to the federal states whether they defray the local authority’s higher own-resource contribution.

Procedures significantly simplified

  • In the future, applications will no longer be collected over a period of several months but will be processed continuously. The subsequent appraisal of each application using a comprehensive catalogue of criteria (scoring) will be abolished. This will make it possible to approve funding speedily after the application has been submitted.
  • For the submission of an application by a local authority, it will suffice in the future that the eligibility for funding of the region for which the request is made is demonstrated on the basis of the outcome of the market survey.
  • In the future, a value for money comparison to justify the funding model selected (value for money gap or operator model) will no longer be required.
  • Nor will it be necessary to provide a detailed funding plan when submitting an application. The local authority submitting the application will provide a preliminary estimate of the likely funding needs.

Placing gigabit projects on a sound financial basis

  • The maximum amount of funding that can be provided by the Federal Government is being increased from 15 to 30 million euros.
  • In the future, the possibility of the projects becoming more expensive during the tender process will be taken into account. It has been made clear that the funding provided by the Federal Government will be governed by the market price calculated in the tender process. The estimate provided by a local authority when submitting an application will merely be an indicative value.
  • Defrayal of the local authority's own share of ten percent by the federal states will no longer be possible only in the case of local authorities that are in the process of budgetary consolidation but also in the case of authorities with inadequate financial resources

Package of measures to prevent collisions between commercial and funded deployment

  • The market survey will be lengthened from four to eight weeks. This will make it possible for the telecommunications companies to manage the high number of simultaneous market surveys and to provide information that is much more substantiated.
  • The telecommunications company will have to underpin its submission in the expression of interest procedure by a valid milestone plan for the planned deployment.
  • In a funded project whose commercial viability is jeopardized by subsequent expressions of interest in deployment, the amount of funding can subsequently be raised to such a level that the unexpected lost revenue due to the competing tender and the resultant wider value for money gap are offset.

Applications can be submitted on www.breitbandausschreibungen.de as of 1 August 2018

With the new funding guidelines, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is creating the framework for gigabit roll-out in rural areas and in small and medium-sized towns. When funding starts on 1 August 2018, it will be up to local authorities to submit their applications and launch their projects.

7 steps towards the gigabit network

StepExplanation
Conduct a market survey on
www.breitbandausschreibungen.de
8-week period for notification
Map of areas is already available at www.breitbandausschreibungen.de
Text to be used for the market survey is available on www.breitbandausschreibungen.de and is identical for all enquiries
Companies make notifications directly on www.breitbandausschreibungen.de by submitting maps showing where they intend to provide coverage.
Submit application

Map of the project area resulting from the market survey is available on the application platform at www.breitbandausschreibungen.de

Local authority draws up a brief project description. It is supported on the platform by information fields.

Pledge fundingLocal authority receives notification with pledge of an estimated level of funding. It is instructed to launch the tender process no later than six months after receiving the pledge. Otherwise, the pledge will lapse and the local authority will have to submit a new application.
Issue invitation to tenderThe local authority is provided with a guide and models for carrying out the procedure.
Grant construction go-ahead and issue notification of final level of fundingAfter receiving the tender documents, the grant-awarding agency issues the construction go-ahead and records the final level of funding in a notification in keeping with the market price calculated in the tender process.
Construction phase and disbursementFunds are disbursed after proof of construction progress has been furnished.
Grant-awarding agency may conduct trial measurements.
Final expenditure report and final invoiceThe local authority receives the information on the final expenditure report from the company delivering the roll-out. It forwards this information to the grant-awarding agency.
The final instalment is disbursed after a successful review by the grant-awarding agency.