German government to spend billions of euros to expand country’s broadband network

The German government is altering its approach to promoting broadband communications and aims thereby to speed up the expansion of high-speed internet access, the German Transportation Ministry confirmed Tuesday.

The ministry was commenting on a report in the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the guidelines for expanding the broadband network were being revamped. Under the plans of Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer, the funding limits are to be increased, funds more quickly paid out and procedures simplified.

In the future, the federal government’s upper limit for funding for municipalities and rural districts is to be doubled to 30 million euros ($35 million). Municipalities’ cost estimates in applying for funding are only to be a benchmark so that cost increases for projects can be covered. Applications are also to be processed continuously and not collected over several months, the ministry paper said, according to the newspaper report.

Also, in the approval process the ministry apparently is no longer to be so critical. The appraisal of applications under a so-called “comprehensive criteria catalogue” is to be “done away with,” said the report. The dispensation of funds can then follow quickly for applications.

Scheuer said that less bureaucracy will make the application process considerably faster and more efficient.

“Municipalities will save up to six months. In the future there will also be no waiting lists in the approval of funds,” he said. Municipalities which till now had been planning with copper cables may convert to planning for glass fibre by the end of the year. “With this we are improving the framework conditions for the Gigabit-expansion in rural areas,” he said. The new applications process is to start August 1.

Source: dpa

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