Fast Internet: federal pots for gigabit expansion empty

Status: 10/19/2022 1:51 p.m

The federal program to promote Internet line expansion in rural areas is successful – so successful that the funding pots are empty for the time being. Hesse and Bavaria are outraged.

For the time being, cities and municipalities can no longer apply for federal grants for fast Internet. The gigabit funding has been exhausted for this year.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) confirmed that the sum of three billion euros made available for this year has been used up. 2023 should the so-called “Gray spots” program be continued. According to Wissing, it was particularly successful. Expansion goals are not endangered.

Bavaria and Hesse protest

Criticism comes from the federal states of Bavaria and Hesse. The Hessian Digital Minister Kristina Sinemus called the funding freeze “tough” and “unexpected”. The CDU politician complains about an insufficient exchange between the federal and state governments. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder and Finance Minister Albert Füracker complain that the federal government is not keeping promises.

“The federal freeze on gigabit funding is a fatal mistake,” says Füracker. Municipalities would have invested a lot of money and time in planning, trusting in these funds. CSU boss Söder accused the federal government of taking on 300 billion in debt and not having a cent left for gigabit funding is “simply a completely wrong signal for the future viability of the country”.

Twelve billion euros for broadband expansion

The gigabit funding is intended for rural communities in which the expansion of the fiber optic network is not worthwhile for the private sector due to the high costs for telecom companies. A total of twelve billion euros are earmarked for this.

The aim is a nationwide high-speed network for all households, companies, schools and hospitals. Business associations regularly complain that Germany has some catching up to do when it comes to fast internet in rural areas.

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