BNetzA, Germany's telecommunications regulator, has taken several steps to implement the Federal Government's broadband strategy. The strategy, announced in February 2009, aims to enhance the availability of broadband Internet access in rural areas. Specifically, all German households shall have at least 1 MBit/s Internet access by the end of 2010, and at least 75% of the population shall be able to access the Internet with 50 MBit/s or more by the end of 2014 (see the Hogan & Hartson TME Update of March 2009).
Inter alia, the broadband strategy asks for spectrum measures to support the broadband roll-out. BNetzA followed up on this on March 13,2009 by presenting draft terms for the allocation of frequencies in the 790 to 862 MHz band. The availability of this spectrum results from a compromise between the Federal government and State legislators on the use of the digital dividend. The 450 to 790 MHz band shall continue to be available for broadcasting, and the 790 to 862 MHz band shall be made available for mobile Internet access services. BNetzA now suggests to auction the 790 to 862 MHz frequencies before the end of the year, together with an auction of additional spectrum in the GHz band which was planned anyway. BNetzA will present more details on the upcoming spectrum auctions in June, which shall then be subject to a public consultation.
On May 13, 2009, BNetzA then followed up on a further request from the government's broadband strategy, namely to present a regulatory framework which allows innovation and growth an effective broadband infrastructure. BNetzA's proposal focuses on a reduction of risks, on access and tariff terms, on planning reliability, and on transparency. More specifically, BNetzA highlights 15 cornerstones such as to support industry co-operations and infrastructure sharing in order to facilitate the broadband development. BNetzA invites comments on the draft framework by July 1, 2009.
See the article Digital Dividend - At the Cable's Expense? by Christopher Wagner, Partner, Berlin