Copper-glass migration in France and the UK

This discussion paper provides an insight into the framework and the status of the migration process from copper to fibre networks in France and the United Kingdom. Despite the different conditions under which the copper-to-glass migration is taking place, copper migration in France and the UK has some things in common. Both regulators, Ofcom and ARCEP, have set the framework conditions for switching off copper networks or for a marketing stop (stop sell) of copper-based services as well as access conditions to FTTH wholesale services in the course of the market analysis for broadband wholesale markets, so that standard products are available and the ordering processes are implemented. The framework also includes a minimum FTTH coverage, compliance with notice periods and detailed obligations to provide information on roll-out plans of the incumbents as well as in the context of monitoring the switch-off process.

The paper sets out structural parameters, which are relevant for fibre roll-out in France and UK and relates them to the respective statistics in Germany. The following chapters deal with the migration processes in UK and France respectively. The conditions for voluntary migration are described first followed by explaining decisions taken within the regulatory framework and setting out the current status of migration. The paper ends with a short summary of the country studies for UK and France.

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Interoperability regulations for digital services

Impact on competition, innovation and digital sovereignty especially for platform and communication services

Digital markets exhibit strong concentration tendencies and a development towards increasingly interlocked, closing ecosystems.

In this study, carried out for Bundesnetzagentur, (a lack of) interoperability (IOP) is examined as a possible cause or driver of such concentration tendencies and the need for corresponding IOP obligations is analysed. In addition to the goals and possible positive effects of such regulations, a number of risks are also elaborated. On the one hand, IOP can enable the use of previously firm-specific network effects for more market participants at the horizontal and vertical level and thus reduce lock-in effects. At the vertical level, it can often create innovation incentives and modular combination possibilities across upstream and downstream market stages. At the horizontal level in particular, however, there can also be a restriction of differentiation and innovation possibilities, since IOP requires a certain degree of homogenisation, especially when, from a technical point of view, strong standardisation is necessary to achieve effective IOP.

In addition to technical, economic and legal foundations of IOP and its impact on services of the platform economy, the focus of the study is particularly on online communication services and number-independent interpersonal telecommunication services (NI-ICS), for which an IOP obligation was most recently established in the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Although the market for online communication services is strongly shaped by services of the Meta group, the costs for multi-homing (the parallel use of different services) as an alternative to IOP are low here and it is accordingly prevalent. On the other hand, due to the high technical complexity of such services, there are a number of costs and risks to IOP obligations that give rise to fears of possible reductions in the level of security, usability and market acceptance, among other things. Against this background, the upcoming practical implementation should be closely accompanied by regulation in order to minimise the identified risks as best as possible. 

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Stadt.Land.Digital publishes study on digitisation in municipalities

Representative survey among 555 municipalities

As part of its work for Stadt.Land.Digital, an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), WIK-Consult has conducted a representative survey of 555 on municipalities in 2022. The survey finds a dynamic development of digital transformation in German cities, municipalities and regions. More than a quarter of all municipalities have adopted digitisation strategies. Exchange with other municipalities is considered very important in supporting digital transformation. Additional support schemes that are considered useful by municipalities include checklists, manuals as well as conceptional consulting.

Topics of particular interest in 2022 include e-government measures and the expansion of broadband and public WiFi networks. Climate protection and activities that respond to climate change are becoming part of digital strategies in more than fifty percent of those municipalities that are working on such strategies.

(only available in German)

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New study "Blockchain for SMEs" published

Third study of the Blockchain Expert Dialogue for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Blockchain technology offers great potential for SMEs, e.g. in the form of efficiency gains, improved IT security or new financing options. However, there are some factors that can hinder the implementation of blockchain solutions in SMEs and thus the realization of this potential.

One example is the lack of IT specialists in SMEs. The lack of standardization and the fact that interoperability is not fully guaranteed can also cause SMEs to shy away from implementation. Depending on the specific design of blockchain governance, new dependencies may arise for SMEs, especially in scenarios with a dominant player in the value chain.

In this study, the options for action are assigned to three fields: "Set regulatory framework to reduce uncertainty" "Support knowledge transfer to build trust" and "Promote network building to leverage synergies."

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Municipalities use smart solutions for climate protection

Stadt.Land.Digital hosts federal conference on smart and sustainable cities

Stadt.Land.Digital, initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, hosted a conference on 14 June 2022 in Berlin. Dr. Franziska Brantner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry, welcomed the attendees and emphasized the importance of municipal climate protection, and the contribution of digital solutions.

Dr. Christine Kahlen (head of the digital policy and digital economy at the Federal Ministry) discussed how digital technologies can contribute to climate protection with Alexander Handschuh (spokesman of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities), Claudia Kalisch (mayor of the City of Lüneburg), Sabine Meigel (chairwoman of the working group on Digitalization of the German Association of Cities and Towns), and Dr. Susanna Zapreva (CEO, enercity AG). There are already many good examples of smart city projects, so that implementation appears as a more important challenge compared to innovation of new solutions. Networking between municipalities and an exchange of good examples are fundamental to successful digital transformation. In this respect, digitisation is not an end in itself, but a tool for achieving climate protection and other goals in municipalities.

(only available in German)

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Mittelstand Digital Congress on 19 October 2022 as a hybrid event

At the upcoming Mittelstand-Digital Congress "Aligning Companies in a Sustainable and Secure Way" in October, the focus will be on energy efficiency, sustainable and resource-conserving business as well as future security and resilience. The congress will deal intensively with the question of how small and medium-sized enterprises can be prepared for the many upheavals of the present and the future - from digitalisation via sustainability to IT security. In addition to a welcoming address by Dr Franziska Brantner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, participants can expect exciting impulses from SMEs and innovative practical projects.

The SME Digital Congress will take place all day on Wednesday, 19 October 2022, at the Umweltforum Berlin. It is a hybrid event that can also be attended online.

For more information about the Mittelstand-Digital Congress and the possibility to register, please click "more".

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