Discussion Papers

Wilfried Günther, Heinz Uhlig

Telekommunikation in der DDR - Die Entwicklung von 1945 bis 1989
Nr. 90 / Juni 1992
(no longer available)


Despite of 40 years of separation between the Deutsche Post (DP) and the Deutsche Bundespost (DBP), some similarities in the scope of the activities and the basic structures of the two organisations remained. The extensive responsibility of the DP for radio- and TV-communication including studio facilities was a major difference in the scope of the activities. Smaller and combined organisational units for post and telecommunications in accordance to the territorial structures of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) were major differences in the organisational structure. Despite of its ITU membership since 1974 the international activities of the DP were still dominated by the countries of the Comecon.

The DP was part of the centrally planned economy of the GDR and as such it was integrated into the central budgeting systems for financial resources, for telecommunication equipment and for construction capacity. In general, the development of public telecommunications infrastructure had a low priority in the central budgeting process - with the exception of public broadcasting: And this was the most important reason for the lagging behind of public telecommunications in the GDR. The telecommunications equipment industry would have had the capacity to provide the country with a sufficient infrastructure in quantitive terms but it had to export most of its production.

The consequence of this policy was a vast discrepancy between the demand and the supply for telecommunications in the GDR. The telecommunications infrastructure of the country lagged 10 to 15 years behind those of the industrialised countries in the west.

Initiatives to increase the autonomy of the DP were not successful. Innovative initiatives in the field of lightwave technologies, of digitisation and packet switched data communications could not be realized. The centrally planned economy of the GDR did not have the strength and the ability to handle such complex innovation processes by its own and all attempts for cooperative innovation activities within the Comecon remained just paperwork.

Only German language version available.

Discussion Paper is no longer available. 

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