On September 13, 2023, Lower Saxony's Minister of Economics Olaf Lies and Deutsche Glasfaser signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of improving broadband supply and further accelerating expansion in Lower Saxony through more intensive cooperation between the company and the state.
For the state government, the focus here is on reducing bureaucracy in approval procedures, lean regulation and fair competition. In return, Deutsche Glasfaser ensures transparency in its projects and makes its data available. Standardization of construction procedures and other practical assistance also play an important role in accelerating expansion.
"Deutsche Glasfaser has already made around 450,000 connections in Lower Saxony," said Olaf Lies. "Currently, another 110,000 connections are being built. By the end of 2027, the company intends to establish around 950,000 connections on its own (without subsidies). This is good news for Lower Saxony, because the company exemplifies that the market is highly dynamic. Our agreement shows: We are open to alternative installation technologies, transparency in the roll-out and support companies and Lower Saxony's municipalities in their cooperation. This is how we are accelerating the expansion in Lower Saxony."
Andreas Pfisterer, CEO of the Deutsche Glasfaser Group, is also delighted. "We stand by Lower Saxony and are consolidating our close partnership with the letter of intent for the expansion of 950,000 households by the end of 2027. As a leading digital provider, we are laying the foundation for prosperity and quality of life in our society with the fiber optic rollout and making the rural and suburban regions of Lower Saxony future-proof. In doing so, we are relying in particular on close cooperation with all stakeholders - from state policymakers to local authorities and citizens."
Fiber-optic networks as a decisive location factor
Fiber-optic networks have become a decisive location factor for business and for residential and lifestyle decisions. In the medium term, fiber-optic networks will replace the existing copper networks, which they clearly outperform in terms of reliability, bandwidth and energy consumption.
Around 90 % of the network expansion is being financed by the private sector, with a further 10 % being supported by subsidies. The state of Lower Saxony and the participating municipalities have invested almost EUR 1 billion in the expansion in recent years. Despite secured funding, however, the state is facing growing challenges due to tight capacities in the construction industry and approval authorities.
Currently, 75 % of households in Lower Saxony have gigabit connections, and 41 % have fiber-optic connections. The expansion projects already planned and underway will increase the availability of gigabit connections to over 80 % in the future, and to over 60 % for optical fiber.