Mapping Broadband Coverage in Germany
National coverage by broadband technology
Germany performs above the EU average for fixed broadband and NGA coverage on both national and rural levels. By the end of June 2020, 99.0% of total households and 94.5% of rural households were covered by at least one broadband technology. The number of homes passed by NGA networks grew by 2.5 percentage points to 94.7% on a national level. In rural areas, NGA network coverage increased by 6.6 percentage points to 81.2%. When looking at networks with a potential to offer gigabit speeds (FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1), Germany performs 3.4 percentage points below the EU average, covering 56.0% of households. In rural areas, overall FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1 network coverage reached 16.4%, 11.4 percentage points below EU average. However, investments into FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1 network rollouts enabled Germany to narrow its gap to other European countries, compared to findings in the 2019 study.
DSL remains the most prevalent individual fixed broadband technology in Germany: Developing at an antagonistic trend compared to the EU average, DSL network coverage increased by 0.8 percentage points and reached 98.7% of total households by the end of June 2020. Germany is among the top countries for VDSL and VDSL2 Vectoring coverage, with 89.2% and 72.7%, respectively. This is largely driven by the incumbent, Deutsche Telekom, heavily investing into upgrading its copper network. However, with the widespread copper networks, FTTP rollout remains slow and coverage is among the lowest in the EU at 13.8%. Cable modem DOCSIS 3.0 coverage reached 66.9% of households by the end of June 2020 while 50.3% of households could access the DOCSIS 3.1 standard.
Unlike past years, Germany performed above the EU average in the LTE category which was available to 99.7% of households. German operators plan to cease 3G networks in 2021 which spurs investments into LTE coverage. 5G availability was estimated to be at 17.8%11 with two of three service providers operating commercial 5G networks at the end of June 2020.12 Deutsche Telekom reported to have covered 16 million people, while Vodafone provided 5G services in 160 locations by June 2020.13 Initial focus of 5G network rollouts were large cities with several cities, such as Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Leipzig being covered by both operators.
In rural areas, DSL covered 94.6% of households while 76.6% of rural households had access to VDSL. An increasing number of networks were upgraded to VDSL2 Vectoring: On a year-on-year comparison, VDSL2 Vectoring availability grew by 10.3 percentage points to 51.3%. Cable DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 covered 23.3% and 7.0% of rural households, respectively. Although DOCSIS 3.1 grew by 2.3 percentage points, it did not develop in line with the national level, highlighting that most upgrades were focused on urban areas. Rural LTE availability was on par with the EU average of 98.6% following an increase of 1.8 percentage points. As 5G deployments were initially focused on cities, rural coverage was estimated to be at 0.8% by mid-2020. 5G services were offered in a few rural areas, such as Hattstedt (Nordfriesland), Lohmar (Rhein-Sieg-Kreis), or Birgland (Amberg).15
Regional coverage by broadband technology
The majority of German regions recorded fixed broadband coverage levels between 95% and 99.9%, while there were numerous regions which stood out with universal coverage (100.0%). These included several large cities, such as Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Berlin, and München. The lowest fixed broadband coverage (83.1%) was recorded in the Lüchow-Dannenberg region.
NGA coverage differences are traditionally large across German regions with remained true in this year’s study. While Köln and Rosenheim reported universal coverage (100.0%), Lüchow-Dannenberg and Landkreis Rostock only reached 59.4% and 64.8% coverage, respectively.
Data tables for Germany Statistic National Population
Note: The 2020 figures represent the state of broadband coverage at the end of June 2020. The 2019 (end of June) and 2018 (end of June) figures are drawn from the previous studies conducted by IHS Markit, Omdia, and Point Topic.
11 Estimated based on information available from operators, data not provided by German NRA.
12 The third operator, Telefonica O2, launched 5G services in October 2020 and hence was not considered in this year’s study.
13 https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/5g-boost-for-germany-602184, https://www.vodafone.de/newsroom/netz/ein-jahr-nach-der-auktion-5g-waechst/
14 https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/deutsche-telekom-5g-goes-live-in-five-cities-580574, https://www.telekom.com/de/medien/medieninformationen/detail/5g-loeppt-in-hamburg-587586, https://www.vodafone.de/newsroom/netz/5g-start-vodafone-startet-5g-in-deutschland/