A few months ago, the German Minister of State for Digitization fantasized about air taxis. A utopia in Germany. At least as long as the broadband expansion for fast Internet progresses so slowly. The largest European trade fair for optical communication, ECOC 2018, will show what is technologically possible from September 23rd to 27th 2018 in Rome.
On the political agenda for decades – for years with moderate success. The social-liberal coalition under Helmut Schmidt
adopted Plans for a nationwide fiber optic expansion. His successor Helmut Kohl stopped the project only two years later and invested in the construction of TV cable networks.
Germany lags far behind
With consequences to this day. Because 37 years later, Germany ranks 28th out of 32 countries surveyed in an OECD comparison for the provision of fiber optic connections – far behind Lithuania,
Latvia and our neighbor France. The progress in Fiber-to-the-Home/Building (FTTH/B) networking especially in the Eastern European and Baltic states can easily be explained: Unlike in Germany,
there was no infrastructure with high-quality copper cabling, which is why these countries have high numbers of fiber optic connections today and are well ahead in the statistics.
Nevertheless, coverage and expansion are not the only problems in Germany. Even low connection rates remain a problem: According to the Broadband Atlas only 76.9 percent of German households have broadband classes of more than 50 Mbit/s. In rural areas, the figure is only around one-third. But when we talk about gigabit networks, we mean transmission rates of 1,000 Mbit/s and more. Germany absolutely has to catch up here.
Ways into Gigabit Society
Since this year, the German government has made another attempt and has set itself the goal of pushing ahead with the nationwide expansion of Gigabit networks by 2025.
Efficient telecommunications infrastructures are the basic prerequisite for digitization, the Internet of Things (IoT) including Industry 4.0, Smart Factory/Home and 5G mobile communications.
These topics and current trends in optical communications will be the focus of the European Conference on Optical Communications Exhibition, ECOC, to be held in Rome from September 23rd to 27th. The focus will be on current and future FTTX development, data centers of the latest generation and optical technologies as pioneers for 5G.
By the way: In Dubai, the first air taxi took off for its maiden flight in 2017. The Minister of State was not on board. Fun fact on the side: The innovation comes from Germany. But there, fast Internet is still a long time coming for everyone.
Frauke Schütz cannot - yet - imagine flying with flying taxis. But since she is curious by nature, she may soon like to be driven through the air as well. Until then, however, she would rather keep her feet on the ground and write about network technology and cabling.