Telekom launches fiber-optic roll-out in Bautzen district


It’s building time: Nearly 56,000 households and businesses in 55 municipalities in the Bautzen district will get fiber-optic lines from Deutsche Telekom.

Around 4,000 kilometers of optical fiber, 1,500 kilometers of underground construction, and more than 1,100 new fiber-optic multifunction cabinets will provide larger bandwidths from late 2020 onward. The maximum download speed will increase to 1 gigabit per second (Gbit/s).

Customers will have lines that support every digital application: video streaming, gaming, or working from home, as well as technologies like virtual reality, telemedicine, and smart home solutions.

The project was ceremoniously launched today by Michael Kretschmer, Premier of the Free State of Saxony, Michael Harig, commissioner of the Bautzen district, and Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG.

“We want to speed up broadband roll-out across the board throughout Saxony,” emphasized Premier Michael Kretschmer. “After all, fast Internet is essential to quality of life, business, and economic growth. Fast data lines are also a prerequisite for promising technologies like effective telemedicine. The fiber-optic build-out here in the Bautzen district is good for the development of the entire region. That’s why, in addition to the federal government, the government of the Free State is supporting this roll-out with 24 million euros in funding.”

“I’m thrilled that the works in the Bautzen district were kicked off in Schmochtitz today,” said commissioner Michael Harig. “Fast Internet lines are essential to people’s personal and professional lives. They’re a major advantage for the region as a center of business in the digital age.”

“We’re happy that we won the Bautzen district over with our offer and thank them for the trust they’ve placed in us. The building starts today,” said Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges. “We are showing that rural areas and fast Internet needn’t be a contradiction in terms. In less than a year, the first residents of the Bautzen district will be able to surf the web at speeds of 1 gigabit. That will make this district one of the first in Germany to have world-beating digital infrastructure.”

Michael Harig underscored why this project matters: “The roll-out will give the public the best possible telecommunications. The key is ensuring that all property- and homeowners in the roll-out area make use of the infrastructure and take part in the project. This forward-looking infrastructure gives our district the chance to become one of the most attractive regions to live and work.” And Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Höttges added: “Optical fiber can become a reality if we all work together: No single company could possibly roll out optical fiber across all of Germany. That is why, as a company, we welcome government funding to ensure a gigabit network gets built that provides the greatest possible coverage.”

Technology and Timeline

As construction gets underway, the planning phase gives way to rolling out the transmission technology in the street cabinets and exchanges. Then the new cables and connections have to be linked up to Telekom’s national network.

The first customers will be able to use their new lines in the second half of 2019. However, the civil engineering works are so extensive that the roll-out will not be complete until the end of 2020.

The fiber-optic cables will be installed all the way into homes. The signals will then be transmitted optically from end to end. Once complete, the network will no longer have copper wires carrying electric signals. The new network will offer download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second and upload speeds of up to 500 megabits per second.