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Source: Fotolia / 3dkombinat

Simpler and with less red tape: the revised Funding Guidelines for Broadband Deployment have now been published. They make the procedure for submitting applications significantly faster and more efficient. As a result, it will be possible to more quickly connect all the remaining white spots (available bandwidth ≤ 30 Mbps) to the gigabit network. The starting date for the submission of applications will be 1 August 2018.

The next step towards universal access to gigabit networks is being prepared. A new programme, starting in mid-2019, is to make it possible to provide funding in regions that are already connected to high-speed Internet but are not yet gigabit ready. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will enter into negotiations with the European Commission in the near future.

Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure:

We are now giving the broadband funding programme a mega upgrade. We are speeding things up on the Federal Government side. Less red tape will make the application procedure significantly faster and more efficient. This will enable local authorities to save up to six months. In the future, there will no longer be any queues of applicants waiting for funds to be approved. And local authorities that have so far gone for copper cable will be able to convert their projects to fibre optic before the end of the year. We are thus improving the framework for the deployment of gigabit broadband in rural areas. Small and medium-sized communities, in particular, will benefit from this. It is now up to local authorities to submit their applications as quickly as possible and launch their projects. The starting date for the submission of applications is 1 August.

What's new?

We are giving local authorities a 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 before the end of 2018.
  • To this end, the Federal Government is stepping up its share of the funding. The federal states can defray the local authority's higher own-resource contribution.

We have considerably simplified the application procedure.

  • 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.

We are 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. From now on, 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 10 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.

We have put together a package of measures to prevent collisions between deployment on a commercial basis 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 detailed.
  • Each telecommunications company will have to underpin its notification in the market survey 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 later 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.

Further information on the broadband funding programme can be found at http://www.bmvi.de/broadbandupgrade