Improving rural broadband deployment with synergistic effects between multiple fixed infrastructures

Felix Limbach, Hannes Kuebel, Rüdiger Zarnekow


The utilization of deployment synergies across infrastructure networks of different industries has been identified as a key to improve the broadband business case. Thus, an increasing number of broadband plans require owners of physical infrastructures such as the electricity, pipeline, highway and railroad networks to host broadband infrastructure. However, cross-industry cooperation brings about new complexity to optimal utilization of deployment synergies.

This paper explores cost savings that can be achieved if national non-telecommunication infrastructures are considered as source for broadband networks in rural areas. Moreover, it assesses economic, political and regulatory measures required for improving synergy utilization. The presented approach is based on a techno-economic broadband deployment model, which is applied to all rural communities in Germany. Results indicate that synergy optimized network topologies can generally decrease rural broadband deployment cost. However, it is required that local authorities recognize the definition of broadband tender areas as a chance for the aggregation of demand. Moreover, national regulators need to ensure that metro-aggregation, backbone and co-location costs, which are associated with non-telecommunication infrastructures, do not exceed the costs of the incumbent by more than 50%.


broadband; rural; synergy evaluation; regulation; policy

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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