United Internet CEO keen to join Deutsche Telekom in German broadband rollout
Founder, chairman, and CEO of German ISP United Internet Ralph Dommermuth has challenged Deutsche Telekom to improve Germany’s broadband network, after the country recently was criticized by the European Commission in its annual in-depth report of 27 EU member states.
According to OECD Broadband statistics, only 2.1 percent of households in Germany have access to fibre optic connections, compared to the OECD average of more than 20 percent.
In an interview with newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Dommermuth pointed out that the investment of €10-12 billion allocated earlier this year by the new government formed by Chancellor Angela Merkel to build gigabit-speed fixed-line data networks over the coming four years, would only cover a small part of the overall cost of building a nationwide glass-fiber network, which he estimates to be €80 billion.
“Each telecommunications company that wants to participate in this alliance would contribute capital according to its market share,” Dommermuth was quoted as saying. As United Internet’s market share is 14 percent, the company would contribute €1.4 billion.
In total, Dommermuth, in cooperation with Deutsche Telekom and other telcos, would be prepared to pay €10 billion. He would then like a further €20 billion to come in the form of state subsidies and investment loans, creating an overall investment pot of €30 billion.
“United Internet should stop all this talk and finally pick up a shovel,” responded Deutsche Telekom in an official statement.
The telco added that it had proposed a similar alliance in September last year, involving Wilhelm.tel, Deutsche Glasfaser, M-Net, Stadtwerke Neumuenster, Net Cologne, and Ewetel.
Germany’s reliance on outdated copper cables makes the country unattractive for internet companies that are in need of fast connectivity, depriving the country of their investments and hurting its position on the global market.