Digital infrastructures of municipal utilities

Municipal utilities push the process of digitization in a variety of ways. They set up and operate digital infrastructures such as data centres, wired broadband networks (e.g. fiber to the home/fiber to the building) or radio networks (WLAN, LoRaWAN). Municipal utilities provide the digital infrastructure without which the digitization of local markets or administrations cannot work at all.

The present study shows two aspects: on the one hand, where and how municipal utilities are involved in the field of digital infrastructures, and on the other hand, what business potential is offered to municipal utilities in digital infrastructures. This is because they can significantly expand their already existing positive contributions and become the backbone of digitization even more than before.

The analysis therefore initially focuses on the deployment of wired broadband infra-structures. For economic reasons, there will usually only be one FTTB/H infrastructure in the medium to long term, so that the first operator can centre demand on itself. This is particularly promising if the provider of this infrastructure acts as a wholesale-only provider and is therefore not in competition with the national providers for end customers. Alternatively, "open access" offers from vertically integrated providers can improve the utilization of new gigabit infrastructures. In the mobile communications sector, municipal utilities can above all ensure the connection of mobile communications sites with fiber optics.

The study outlines how municipal utilities can support the digitization of the economy and society today and tomorrow, in particular by occupying new topics such as smart city. Finally,  this also addresses the policy areas that will influence the activities of municipal utilities in the field of building, expanding and operating modern (network) infrastructures today and in the future (sector-specific regulation, broadband funding, frequency policy, etc.).

The study (in German language) is available for download.

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Dr Bernd Sörries
Phone: +49 2224 9225-23
Fax:     +49 2224 9225-63
b.soerries(at)wik.org