High-speed Fibre-optic internet

Network Cables - ©iStockphoto.com/pagadesignThe days of accessing the internet using an analogue (“dial-up”) modem or ISDN link are long gone for most parts of the Taunus region, with DSL (“broadband”) lines of at least 1MBit/s becoming the norm over the past 10 years and speeds in Oberursel of 25MBit/s available in some areas.

Now the town is preparing to enter the next phase of high-speed internet with the introduction of fibre-optic connections.

Current DSL works over the more traditional copper wires that have been used for telephone cables for over a hundred years, but this system suffers from the fact that the further away from the exchange you live, the slower the reliable line speed is.

This can be clearly demonstrated along the Hohemarkstraße in Oberursel where the line speed degrades from 25MBit/s at the Lahnstraße, near the telephone exchange, to 1MBit/s at the Hohemark, whereby this is only the speed to receive data, sending data is typically about 1/8 of that speed.

Fibre optic cables do not suffer from the same fate, and typically offer speeds of  up to 200MBit/s to receive data and 100MBit/s to send it.

So the announcement several months ago that parts of Oberursel’s town centre and the northern end would be upgraded to fibre optic lines caused a lot of excitement.

Except that the cables to the “northern end” of the town do not even go as far as the road “Im Heidegraben”, as can be seen on a map on the Deutsche Telekom homepage.

In fact, almost all of the area being upgraded already has access to line speeds of 16MBit/s or 25MBit/s, which might explain why Deutsche Telekom this week appealed for house and flat owners to come forward and allow them to install the lines, saying that it less than 80% of homeowners agreed then they would cancel the project.

To understand their problem, you have to realise that Deutsche Telekom do not have the right to lay the fibre optic cables on private property, so they require every home owner who wants to be connected to the new system to sign a contract, allowing them to install the cables and leave them installed for the next 10 years.

This is a separate contract to that which the actual inhabitants of the properties have to sign up to, which is typically for 2 years.  Only in houses where only 1 or 2 families live do they make the telephone and internet contract a condition of installation, everyone else can have the fibre optic cables installed first and then change to the new system at a later date.

To make the whole installation financially viable, Deutsche Telekom say that they need 80% of home owners in the planned area to sign up, before they start marketing the actually internet products.

Only if 10% of potential users then also sign up to those products, will they start digging up the pavements and installing the new lines.

The basic installation itself is free of charge to the home owners, with only the users paying slightly more than they do now for traditional broadband.  Most importantly, it is not going to cost the town’s administration anything.

As of this week (4th December, 2012), only 25% of home owners have signed up, and so an information evening is being held in the town hall this coming Monday, 10th December, 2012 at 7pm.  A separate information evening for everyone else will take place at a later date.

With only 10 towns being offered the chance of fibre optic based internet access each year, it is a chance that Oberursel does not want to miss.  And yet, maybe more people would be signing up if they offered it in areas where internet access is slower, rather than in streets which already have relatively fast line speeds.

Camp King and “Im Rosengärtchen” spring to mind…

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

Comments

  1. Normunds says

    Hi Graham,

    I came across this article as during my search for alternative broadband providers in Oberursel (I live near Kupferhammer U-bahn stop).

    Could you let me know what happened with this initiative to install optical cables (seems required sing-up minimum was not reached) and would you happen to know if any other company provides internet with speeds around 100 Mbit/s other than Unitymedia?

    Thanks!

    • The optical cables were installed, but only in some parts of the town. Mainly this is the town centre and the area around the Lahnstraße.

      Deutsche Telekom are currently upgrading the other lines in the town to be able to offer VDSL with download speeds of up to 50MBit/s and upload speeds of around 10MBit/s. My current information is that these should be available from the end of September.

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