Neutral fibre and the European Green Deal

In 2019, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the European Green Deal. The Communication sets out the Commission’s commitment to tackling climate and environmental challenges. At its heart is a target to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% compared to the levels of 1990. To achieve this aim, significant reductions in transport emissions will be needed, alongside a dramatic shift in energy consumption in buildings, which account for 40% of the energy consumed today.

As the capital of Sweden, one of Europe’s leaders in energy efficiency, Stockholm has set its own target to become climate positive by 2040. A key element of this strategy is to leverage the City’s dark fibre network to support smart transport and building solutions as well as the re-use of waste energy. The fibre network has also played a critical role in enabling homeworking and remote healthcare provision during the Coronavirus epidemic, which reduced congestion and pollution in the City as well as providing support to the local economy during a time of crisis.

In this study,  we explore how Stockholm City’s fibre network, AB Stokab has helped Stockholm to become amongst the world’s greenest cities, and evaluate the environmental benefits that could be achieved across Europe if other communities follow Stockholm’s example.

On April 29, the key findings of the study "Neutral fibre and the European Green Deal" were presented (see more...) and discussed with key stakeholders in an online workshop carried out in collaboration with Stokab. More than 150 participants from all over Europe attended the workshop.

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Impact of labelling on full fibre adoption

The UK Government and Ofcom have both established a strategic objective to drive widespread deployment of full fibre and other gigabit-capable broadband networks. Low levels of awareness of gigabit-capable services and a poor understanding of the benefits are identified as key barriers to adoption.

In this context consumer confusion could be caused by consumers not knowing whether they genuinely have full fibre and by the terminology used to designate speed in broadband marketing.

WIK-Consult's study "Impact of labeling on full fiber adoption", commissioned by CityFibre, contributes to the need for more research, and provides evidence of the scale of consumers’ confusion as well as evidence on the effectiveness of a labelling scheme in the UK broadband market in addressing this confusion.

In order to consider these questions, WIK-Consult conducted a representative survey among 3000 consumers alongside a conjoint study, to test how consumers react to different marketing terminology and the use of labels.

The results show that there is widespread confusion amongst consumers today, and that this appears to be the result of certain broadband terminology used within marketing. The study also shows that the introduction of a labelling scheme alongside an information campaign, would make a significant contribution to addressing confusion and expand take-up of full fibre in particular, as well as expanding the take-up of other gigabit-capable products.

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Future regional – digital: Feasibility study on data infrastructures in the Rhenish mining area

On behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, a feasibility study was conducted with the participation of WIK-Consult on the question of whether and, if so, where in the Rhineland area the conditions and potential for a hyperscale data center with integrated data hub and connected digital park are given. Together with GWS, WIK-Consult modeled the effects of locating the data center and digital park on the regional gross domestic product and employment by means of an input-output analysis.

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What drives the demand for postal services in Belgium?

WIK-Consult researched the impact of price and delivery frequency on demand for postal services

WIK-Consult was commissioned by the Belgian postal regulator BIPT to conduct a comprehensive study on elasticity of demand in relation to price and quality changes (delivery frequency) for universal services in the Belgian postal market. In addition to a literature review, the analysis is based on a representative survey of consumers and businesses in Belgium. The survey was conducted in 2019. The focus of the survey was to assess the demand for postal services classified as universal services which are provided by bpost.

Key findings of the survey related to elasticities were (1) that significant portions (>60%) of traditional mail communications by consumers and businesses have already been replaced by electronic channels and this trend will continue, (2) that demand for universal services by consumers is still quite responsive to price changes, however less for businesses (most responsive to changes in parcel prices), and (3) that for businesses, changes in delivery frequency, and thus speed of delivery, appear to be less important compared to day-certain, reliable delivery. Consumers are more sensitive to changes in delivery frequency compared to businesses.

The Belgian regulator BIPT published the study conducted by WIK-Consult as part of an announcement on April 20, 2021.

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„5Guarantee“ analyses potentials of 5G campus networks in industry

For industry in particular, 5G provides an alternative or complement to existing communication technologies to improve the reliability, scalability and security of industrial processes and applications.

The "5Guarantee" project is part of the funded initiative 5G.NRW and is being conducted by an interdisciplinary consortium to address open questions about 5G campus networks. WIK-Consult coordinates the overall project as consortium leader. The total duration of the project is three years. The focus of the project is on the question of which 5G performance promises can be realized in practice on the basis of concrete applications and for which applications 5G is actually required.

In addition to identifying applications and their performance requirements, an evaluation and control system for 5G campus networks will be developed to enable an objective comparison of technologies in the production environment. Based on this, IT security aspects and possible implementation scenarios for 5G campus networks will also be the subject of the project, which will be tested directly in the production environment of the participating companies.

Information on the current status and results of "5Guarantee" is provided on an ongoing basis on the website below.

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Federal Court of Justice confirms methodology co-developed by WIK

BNetzA decision on general X-factor for gas networks in accordance with German law

End of January 2021, the Federal Court of Justice ruled in favour of the BNetzA with regard to the February 2018 determination on the amount of the general sectoral productivity factor pursuant to Section 9 ARegV. Previously the OLG Düsseldorf had initially overturned the decision.

The BNetzA had set the factor to 0.49%. Within the framework of the German incentive regulation of gas network operators, the factor is a core element with regard to the revenue caps of operators and thus the network fees to be paid by end-users as part of their gas bill.

WIK was significantly involved in developing the methodology on which BNetzA's decision is based.In addition, WIK advised the BNetzA throughout the entire process.

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German Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy launches start-up competition for digital innovations

Special award for digital cities and regions

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has launched its start-up competition! This competition awards prizes to the best start-up ideas for digital innovations.

This summer, a special prize will be awarded for ideas in the category “digital cities and regions”. The prize is presented in cooperation with Stadt.Land.Digital, an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, run by WIK-Consult.

Start-ups can apply until 31 May 2021. Up to 32.000 Euro will be awarded to the best ideas. The special smart-city-award will be rewarded with an additional 10.000 Euro.

Stadt.Land.Digital is looking forward to many innovative ideas that will support cities and regions in their digital transformation.

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Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity go hand in hand

Mittelstand-Digital live from the digital Hannover Messe 2021

At the joint stand of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy at the virtual Hannover Messe 2021, Mittelstand-Digital broadcasted an extraordinary live stream: cooking with AI - The recipe for success for the use of artificial intelligence.

The Mittelstand 4.0 centers of excellence presented their AI Cookbook, which shows the most important steps on the way to the usage of artificial intelligence for small and medium-sized enterprises. Questions were answered, such as: How can Artificial Intelligence be used in companies? What tools are needed for this? Why should small and medium-sized enterprises start integrating AI into their business model right now? And what about cybersecurity and data protection?

An entrepreneur also had his say, and reported on how he introduced AI solutions in quality control with the support of the Mittelstand 4.0 center of excellence in Kaiserslautern.

In addition, TISiM – die Transferstelle IT-Sicherheit im Mittelstand - presented the Sec-O-Mat, which companies can use to find out their IT security needs and lay the foundation for their customized action plan.

Mittelstand-Digital was also represented at the TWENTY2XPowerWeek. The Mittelstand 4.0 centers of excellence Siegen and Chemnitz presented digitisation projects with companies on the topic of augmented and virtual reality. The possible applications range from 3D representations of building plans including process data from building technology to the optimisation of maintenance and service processes in existing buildings.

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Mittelstand-Digital supports SMEs even during the pandemic

BMWi expands offerings for the digitization of SMEs

In 2020, Mittelstand-Digital maintained its offerings even in times of the Corona pandemic and successfully supported small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with (online) services. With numerous workshops, webinars and new online learning platforms, the 26 Mittelstand 4.0 competence centers were available to companies throughout Germany without interruption.

The competence centers continue to support companies in all matters relating to digitization. In addition, the competence centers were sought-after contacts for questions that particularly concerned SMEs during the pandemic, such as home office, online stores and corona emergency assistance. With their broad range of information and support services, they helped many SMEs to adapt to the new situation in the short term.

"Mittelstand-Digital" is being expanded with the aim of sustainably driving forward the digital transformation of the entire SME sector in Germany. In addition to the "Digital Jetzt" investment grant program and the initiative "IT-Sicherheit in der Wirtschaft", the first SME Digital Centers will be launched in the summer of 2021, continuing the work of the SME 4.0 Competence Centers.

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