Leaders of a German region that's home to 174 municipalities, 140,000 businesses and almost 3 million people today inked a deal with Deutsche Telekom to expand its fixed-line broadband so the area eventually is almost completely served by high-speed Internet and 5G mobile communications.
This new relationship continues DT's pattern of partnerships with organizations ranging from competitor Telefónica on backhaul to Beta Films for European TV series and Huawei for lots of things (maybe too many, if you're a DT executive dealing with anxious government agency heads right now).
In this new relationship, DT is working with a region in the center of Germany. The Gigabit Region Stuttgart gigabit project will upgrade the existing high-speed fiber-optic network and deploy additional fiber where it's missing. This will create both fixed services and backhaul to support the region's goal of 99% mobile connectivity via LTE by 2025, according to a release. Partners DT and Stuttgart expect to leverage this investment to rapidly deploy 5G when feasible.
Middle Germany to Get Gigabit Broadband & 5G
The Gigabit Region Stuttgart gigabit project, in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, will impact 174 municipalities, 140,000 businesses and almost 3 million people. (Photo source: Wikimedia)
The agreement covers an expansion area of 174 municipalities within the city of Stuttgart, plus five neighboring districts (Böblingen, Esslingen, Göppingen, Ludwigsburg and Rems-Murr). All enterprises in this area will have access to fiber by 2025, and by 2030, 90% of residences will have the same option, according to the agreement. Both DT and the municipalities plan "joint investments running into billions [of euros]," they said.
"A universal fiber optic-based, gigabit-capable broadband network is the future lifeline of innovation, economic success and quality of life. So I enthusiastically welcome the joint initiative between the Stuttgart region and Deutsche Telekom to implement the extensive expansion with an ambitious, yet necessary timetable," said Winfried Kretschmann, Baden-Württemberg Minister President, in a statement.
In time, other businesses and operators may use the digital infrastructure "under fair, generally accepted market conditions," DT wrote in the release.
Beyond the partnership
To manage this multi-municipality program, each of the five districts created an association focused solely on this project; combined, these five associations form GRS. The organization is a combination of project manager and general contractor, working with all parties throughout the multi-year, multi-jurisdiction project.
"The universal fiber-optic upgrade in the Stuttgart region and throughout Baden-Württemberg will only succeed if everyone involved works together shoulder to shoulder," said Thomas Strobl, deputy prime minister of Baden-Württemberg and Interior and Digitization Minister. "The state is investing hugely in the broadband infrastructure. But without the private telecommunications companies we will not achieve our goal."
GRS also is developing standardized processes and technical standards, frameworks and master agreements. Ideally, GRS will share these items with others involved in similar projects in the future. Should problems arise, GRS is the designated mediator. The group is also the main fundraiser, advises districts and looks for ways to cut deployment time and shave expenses. For example, association members may create and manage central duct-work management or pole-access agreements.
The contract's yearly expansion plan dictates the extent to which fiber-optic cable is deployed, as well as when and which of the 174 municipalities receives the new infrastructure. But DT has caveats. They include:
Existing supply of bandwidth and infrastructure
Expansion costs such as geographic structure of the municipalities
Adequate residential demand pre-deployment
Already the region is home to six fiber-connected DT-served cities -- in Allmersbach im Tal, Bad Cannstatt, Bempflingen, Ditzingen-Heimerdingen, Deggingen-Reichenbach im Täle and Weil der Stadt, about 25,000 residences can get FTTH, according to DT. This infrastructure is part of DT's 500,000-plus kilometers (about 311,000 miles) of fiber, which will serve 2 million households by 2021, DT intends.
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