The availability of nationwide FTTH infrastructures is an essential prerequisite for Germany to maintain its position as a leading European business location. Against this background, the DIHK has commissioned WIK to identify and evaluate alternative approaches for the rollout of fiber optics in underserved regions. The study focuses on rural regions that are not currently accessible with FTTH and in which no commercial expansion is to be expected in the future.
Using an exemplary business case modelling, it is shown that investment periods for fiber optic utilities on the basis of wholesale-only networks show shorter payback periods in comparison to vertically integrated operators. Accordingly, the wholesale-only model can be used to expand the number of areas accessible for commercial rollout and to reduce the overall need for subsidies. In addition, it is shown that cooperation models are able to reduce the need for government subsidies and at the same time to reduce the risk of strategic overbuilding of publicly subsidised rollout projects. Finally, recommendations are given on how to use subsidies efficiently in regions where it is not possible to roll out fibre on a commercial base.
The study (in German language) is available for download.