IFA 2017: DT will continue to invest in fiber-optic network
At the opening of IFA 2017, Niek Jan van Damme, member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG responsible for Germany, made a clear commitment to expanding the broadband network in Germany and explained the measures that have been taken so far. “I am very proud that we currently run the largest fiber-optic network in Germany, with approximately 455,000 kilometers of cables,” said van Damme. “Through our investment, we have succeeded in more than doubling the overall size of the network since 2007.” As a result of this expansion, Deutsche Telekom has gained more fiber-optic customers than any other European network operator, with approximately 8.2 million lines.
While the network has been upgraded over the past decade, numerous other measures have also been needed to deliver this success story. For example, the company currently operates approximately 145,000 cable distributors across Germany that enable high-speed connections. The targeted expansion of the Deutsche Telekom fiber-optic network is essential when it comes to connecting cell towers to the company’s high-speed network. This enables approximately 93 percent LTE coverage of the population. The consistent roll-out of the network strategy means that peak speeds of up to 500 Mbit/s can be achieved in Deutsche Telekom’s LTE network.
These investments have generated positive demand for the company’s fiber-optic products. By the end of the first half-year 2017, the number of lines had grown to a total of 8.2 million. Over the past six months, 1.4 million new lines have been added to Deutsche Telekom’s fiber-optic network in Germany. Van Damme used the IFA press conference to make it clear that the decision to build the network of the future is not just about FTTH. Vectoring uses fiber-optic cables up to street level and combines them with high-tech software for the remaining copper stretch into homes.
“We have announced our intention to extend broadband coverage (at least 50 Mbit/s) to 80 percent of households in Germany and that is what we are going to do,” emphasized van Damme during the company’s press conference. “Deutsche Telekom invests while others just complain.”
Last year alone, Deutsche Telekom invested some five billion euros in Germany. “That is why Germany is very well placed in an international benchmark of actual bandwidth and coverage – other than is often suggested,” says van Damme. The industry-leading Netflix network test has recently confirmed yet again that, on average, German fixed-line customers enjoy the highest download speeds of all large European countries – ahead of Spain and France.This result has been achieved before the increase in speed to up to 250 Mbit/s after the launch of super vectoring that Deutsche Telekom is planning for 2018. Germany is also at the forefront in Europe when it comes to broadband supply in rural areas. As a result, FTTH countries such as France are currently debating whether a dogmatic insistence on FTTH alone is the correct approach, or whether using vectoring technology might be just as useful. Comparable European companies such as KPN and Swisscom have already responded and are pursuing a mix of technologies in the same way as Deutsche Telekom.