Germany will make an additional 1.3 billion ($1.45 billion) euros in funding available to expand broadband internet access to poorly-connected regions, the Transport and Digital Infrastructure Ministry said on Friday.
The government announced plans last October to spend 2.7 billion euros as part of a push to give all households in Germany access to internet speeds of at least 50 megabytes per second by 2018.
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Better access is viewed as a crucial part of Germany’s so-called Digital Agenda, which aims among other goals to promote the digitization of industry by connecting factory floors to the internet.
Many of Germany’s small-and-medium-sized companies – known as the Mittelstand and which form the backbone of the economy – are located in rural areas.
The last paragraph points up the profound power of advanced telecommunications to transition the economy away from the Industrial Age model where economic activity is centralized in large enterprises located in major metro areas. Apparently that’s not the case in Germany — and is likely be increasingly so in other advanced nations in the age of the Internet.
This is the first national policy that implicitly recognizes that smaller businesses located outside of central metro regions will play a key role in the evolving economy and thus require advanced telecommunications infrastructure. This also reframes what is generally referred to as “rural broadband” into larger national economic issue.