Neglecting Fiber is Risking Global Competitiveness

The country’s global competitiveness would be at risk if Germany continues to delay fiber optic deployments and keep promoting old copper networks, says Vodafone CEO Hannes Ametsreiter. He told the German Government should prioritize optical fiber based technology for its 5G networks.

Not only Germany, but any country delaying the deployment of fiber optic networks is delaying its development and growth. Such countries are at risk of losing their competitiveness. The coming years will prove their decision to stick with copper networks was wrong.

Vodafone CEO Hannes Ametsreiter wrote in an editorial that appeared in Handelsblatt this week that he is convinced of the fact that Germany and Europe’s future prosperity are dependent on digital infrastructure.

“A country that prefers to extract the last remnants of capacity out of copper networks rather than investing in a future-safe fiber optic infrastructure is jeopardizing its international competitiveness as a business and industry location,” says the CEO.

Germany ranks very low in terms of the percentage of houses connected with FTTH broadband technology in a study carried out by the FTTH Council. According to the most recent statistics from the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council, less than 1% of German homes subscribe to an FTTH service.

Many Asian countries are leading the chart prepared by the FTTH Council. FTTH Council noted that Fiber to the home broadband deployment is growing in Germany, but it is being driven by alternative operators like Deutsche Glasfaser, while big players like Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and indeed Vodafone have focused the bulk of their fixed-line investments on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and VDSL – the sort of legacy infrastructure that Ametsreiter rails against in his editorial this week.

The CEO says it is vital to prioritize optical fiber and 5G in order to support emerging technology like automated driving.

“Google’s self-driving car generates around one gigabyte of data for every second of driving time. This example makes it clear that we need higher capacity infrastructures for the intelligent networking of raw data. Not just for our daily drive to work, but for our entire economy and society,” he said.

Ametsreiter called on the government and private sector to work together to establish a framework that will foster the deployment of next-generation networks in order to regain lost ground on pioneering markets like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, markets that have recognized the significance of fiber optic infrastructure to their future prosperity.

“The corporate and political sectors share responsibility for ensuring that Germany is heading for a prosperous future and not for the industrial museum,” he said.

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