November 22, 2017 / 2:29 PM / a year ago

Deutsche Telekom says speeds up expansion of fibre networks

FRANKFURT, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom said it was adding 40,000 kilometres (24,855 miles) of high-speed, glass-fibre telecoms networks in Germany this year, 10,000 more than initially planned, amid calls for higher investments in fibre networks.

For next year, Deutsche Telekom is targeting 60,000 further kilometres, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Deutsche Telekom, in which the state still owns a stake of over 30 percent, has been seeking to fend off criticism that it is abusing its dominant market position by going slow on building out its high-speed broadband network.

The company is relying heavily on vectoring, a technique which improves transmission speeds on the “last mile” of copper wire linking fibre connections at the street cabinet to homes and businesses.

But German engineering association VDMA, for instance, has criticised Deutsche Telekom, saying that fibre connections right to the destination building are the only way to meet the medium-term demands of German industry.

Many companies in the so-called Mittelstand - typically smaller firms in family ownership - are located outside cities and lack access to ultra-high-speed networks.

Deutsche Telekom in its statement on Wednesday defended its strategy.

“We consciously decided to first supply a large area with fast internet by extending glass fibre to the cabinets and by vectoring. In a second step, we then want to bring the glass fibre closer to households,” Telekom Germany chief Niek Jan van Damme said in the statement. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan)

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