High-speed Internet: Law alone is not enough – Economics

There is actually nothing more to say about it: high-speed internet is as much a part of life as water and electricity are. So far, however, Germany has not led the way. Therefore, it is good that the right to this will come into force soon, as promised by the government. However, the fact that there is now an argument about what high-speed Internet really is shows how much the Germans will sleep through this technological step. Ten megabits per second (Mbit / s) for download and only 1.7 Mbit / s for upload, as proposed by the Federal Network Agency, are really only an absolute minimum. When it comes to distance learning or working from home, you will hit the limit right away. But it’s better than no internet.

As the fact remains: past mistakes have been made, the deficit cannot be made up in the short term. Therefore, it is necessary to be proportioned to decide how to proceed. Raising the claim to 30 Mbit / s, as requested by the Länder, sounds good and would in fact be a better lower limit. But that would create a huge army of pretenders. But what is the use of a legal claim that only exists on paper? Because nowadays it is difficult to find construction crews to arrange the necessary cables. The parties involved should therefore come to a compromise that would allow for example the supply of very distant farms via satellite or radio during a transitional period.

It’s not just about technology

However, technology is only one aspect of the (fast) internet. According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 3.8 million people between the ages of 16 and 74 still live in Germany without a network. In most cases, this is not because their home is not connected. Most of the nonlinearists are elderly people who either see no benefits, are financially weak, or fear not to be able to use technology or become victims of cybercriminals. To change this, low-threshold and local offers are needed – also because those who do not have access to the network are increasingly excluded from participation in public life.

The digital divide does not only affect online and non-linear people. It also opens up among those who aren’t good at dealing with the deluge of information and the temptations of the Internet. People have to learn this, they need standards to be able to judge what and how is to be classified. And they have to learn that turning off is part of that too. All of this is an educational mission, and no small at all.

I am asking for more speed

But here too, Germany lags behind. A fragmented education system with separate responsibilities at the municipal, state, and federal levels is only slowly developing. It often depends on whether the commune has the money to equip schools properly. Sometimes money would be there too, but there is a shortage of skilled workers to keep the entire digital zoo – from the board to the tablet – in good shape. Virtually every school needs at least one digital tutor. Most of the time, however, they are dedicated teachers who also care about IT in the school. It is a pity, however, that there are always schools that do not have access to the Internet or have insufficient access to it. So is it a shame, by the way, some schools have rain through the roofs and awful toilets.

So the pace has to pick up. Less bureaucracy would help a lot. For example, fiber optic cables can be installed fairly quickly if they are buried a little shallowly. Until now, however, the regulations have often contradicted this. Firms also have to file applications with authorities on file, approvals take a long time, although these are often standard designs such as radio masts. So if a government wants to move forward, it needs more than just the right to high-speed internet. Conditions must also be created so that they can be written off. And for as many people as possible.

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