Govt subsidy brings broadband to Black Forest

Monday 22 August 2011 | 13:13 CET | Background

The German city of Sasbachwalden marked the start of its local fibre network on 3 August. The Black Forest town has almost 2,500 residents and 1,290 households. The 42-km GPON network was deployed partly underground, in the sewers and on electricity poles. The project cost in total EUR 3.4 million, or EUR 2,720 per household, and the regional government, the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, contributed EUR 1.5 million.

Telsakom is the service provider on the network. Consumers pay EUR 50 per month for broadband at 50/2 Mbps and EUR 65 per month for 75/3 Mbps; both plans included unlimited calls to the German fixed network. Connection costs a one-time fee of EUR 100, and subscribers must also rent a Fritz!Box for EUR 5 per month and pay a EUR 30 access fee. The box comes with Wi-Fi and access to the FON community. Business customers can get service at 50/25 Mbps for EUR 150 per month and 70/35 Mbps for EUR 200 per month.

Asked why the choice was made for GPON, project participant Kai Seim said this offers a cost savings of around 15 percent. The fact that the service will largely serve consumers was the motivation for the choice. In addition, the network requires long connections, covering changes in height of up to 800m and crossing over rocky ground. 

Conclusion: government subsidies have been deployed with success in Germany in order to bring broadband to outlying areas. The savings on fibre-optic cables and equipment have a positive effect on operating expenses, in addition to the 15 percent savings on capex. Critics may suggest that  GPON is less future-proof (see our Research Brief ‘FTTH networking: Active Ethernet versus Passive Optical Networking and point-to-point vs. point-to-multipoint’ from November 2010).

Telecompaper is organising on 12 October the Breedband NL 2011 conference, at which technology, financing and usage will be the focus of discussion. 

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