Discussion Papers

Christin-Isabel Gries

Die Entwicklung der Nachfrage nach breitbandigem Internet-Zugang.
Nr. 242 / April 2003


Due to the dynamic development during the last years, internet penetration in Germany is exceeding 50% in the group of people older than 14 years. With respect to high growth rates broadband access plays a mayor role in the future. At the end of 2002, more than 7% of the German households had broadband access to the internet. The broadband internet access market is dominated by DSL, while cable could not yet succeed as a broadband internet access technology. The main reason for the reluctance of cable internet can be seen in the weak financial position of the German cable operators.

The objective of this study is to develop a well-founded forecast of the broadband internet access demand of private households until 2015. It will cover not only the overall broadband penetration, but also the development of alternative access technologies. Because of the characteristics of broadband internet access the scenario methodology is applied. This approach enables to cover a wide range of factors, to identify significant drivers and barriers for broadband penetration and to include also alternative development paths of the relevant influencing factors.

The study focuses on developing a trend scenario that extrapolates the current market situation until the year 2015. The result of this scenario is that the majority of private households (about 60%) will have access to the broadband internet. Between 2002 and 2015 the compounded annual growth rate is about 20%. At an overall internet penetration of 70% in 2015, 10% of the German households still use narrowband internet access.

In 2015, DSL operators hold a market share of 70% % of all broadband internet users. Cable Operators serve 25% of the broadband households and internet via satellite is used by about 3%. A small niche market is covered by WLAN and other technologies (e.g. Fibre-to-the-home FTTH).

Major uncertainty regarding the forecast results from the strategies of the cable operators and their investment in the upgrading of existing infrastructure. The mid- and longterm developments in the cable market could have a high impact on the future broadband internet penetration and the market shares of different technologies. [full version only available in German]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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