Gigabit strategy: Use Telekom wooden masts for fiber optic expansion

The federal government’s draft for a gigabit strategy envisages a pilot project for the shared use of above-ground lines and “sustainable expansion”.

 Gigabit strategy: Use Telekom wooden masts for fiber optic expansion​

Federal Digital Minister wants to support the planned nationwide expansion of gigabit infrastructures Volker Wissing (FDP) strengthen alternative laying methods. This should not only include trenching, whereby lines are only buried a few centimeters deep. There is also said to be a pilot project for sharing Deutsche Telekom’s overhead lines in order to speed up fiber optic expansion.

This initiative is part of the federal government’s gigabit strategy present. According to this, Telekom has around three million wooden masts that could in principle be used to lay more than one hundred thousand kilometers of fiber optic lines. This would allow “considerable time and cost savings”. says the BMDV. The expansion costs per household could thus be “reduced by 70 to 80 percent”.

Relieve civil engineering

“In addition, the scarce capacities in civil engineering are relieved with above-ground laying,” advertises the BMDV for the not uncontroversial approach, which the old black-red federal government already had in mind with examples in South Korea. Because in rural areas, where households are outside of towns and far from each other, the development costs per household significantly more than in densely populated regions made use of the possibilities of above-ground laying,” says the 60-page paper. The federal gigabit office has already developed a concept that is to be discussed “with all relevant players” before the first test runs.

The overarching goal of the strategy “is the nationwide supply of fiber optic connections right into the home and the latest Mobile communications standard” 5G by 2030, as can already be seen from the key points from March. “In a first step, we want to increase the supply of fiber optic connections to 50 percent by the end of 2025.” In mobile communications, “uninterrupted wireless voice and data services for all end users should be achieved by 2025 if possible”.

Simplify approvals

Of almost 100 announced measures, the BMDV wants to simplify the approval procedures for expansion projects first , digitize and accelerate. In addition to the federal government, this affects the federal states in particular. They are therefore asked to initiate changes or additions to their relevant specifications by the end of the year.

Temporary mobile radio masts should be “uniformly exempt from the requirement for a building permit nationwide for a period of up to two years be released”, Wissing pleads for a paradigm shift in construction law. Such a one would make it easier to close gray patches. According to the paper, specifications for distances and prohibited zones should “be standardized and reduced at the same time”. The instrument of general approval should be set up or strengthened in the federal states.

The BMDV wants trench, milling and plowing methods for cable laying to be quickly standardized in order to significantly simplify their use. The DIN urgently needs to publish a draft standard by the end of 2022, the ministry is demanding. The ministry intends to counter the concerns of the municipalities that alternative laying methods could lead to road damage or higher maintenance costs with a liability fund for consequential costs. A special fund of the Federal Government could be considered for this.

One principle of the strategy is: “We rely on self-financing and provide targeted support where this “will not have any effect in the foreseeable future”. In a “gigabit land register” relevant available information about underserved areas, jointly usable infrastructures, plots of land and real estate of the federal, state and local authorities is to be collected in the interests of transparency.

New “gigabit forum”

For areas that would not be developed by the market players without state support, the BMDV still considers “targeted support measures” for the expansion of broadband and mobile communications to be indispensable.Since the expansion of areas that already have 100 Mbit/s connections can also be funded from 2023, a gigabit forum set up by the Federal Network Agency is to discuss “common principles, positions and standards for the expansion of high-performance networks and the migration from copper to Fibre-optic networks”.

The relatively new mobile communications infrastructure company (MIG) is only supposed to identify supply gaps and identify and secure suitable locations for mobile communications masts by the end of the year on the basis of around 1000 investigations. Despite the current shortage of materials and personnel, the first subsidized antennas would go into operation as planned in spring 2023 “in order to improve the supply of people on site”. The MIG is also to initiate an ideas competition on how radio masts can be operated as climate-neutrally, reliably and cheaply as possible thanks to renewable energies.

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