German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged people to use broadband Internet, if it is available in their homes, to bolster the economy and push the development of new technologies.
“Use what is offered to you,” Merkel said at a Deutsche Telekom AG event in Friedrichshafen, Germany, today. “Germany could have major economic benefits from the Internet.”
Under the name T-City, Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom is running pilot projects in Friedrichshafen that include smart metering to help utility companies measure and control energy consumption and delivery; and health projects such as instant communication of insulin readings to physicians. Other projects involve home networks where users can access and operate electrical appliances from anywhere.
About 98 percent of German households have Internet speeds of 1 megabit per second, Merkel said. That compares to the 50 megabit per second speed of almost all households in T-City. The German state has a 32 percent stake in Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s biggest phone company, according to Bloomberg data.
To counter declining sales from traditional telephone operations, Deutsche Telekom is betting on sales from services such as smart metering, mobile data, Internet-connected homes, services and utilities. These services contributed 15.8 billion euros in revenue to Deutsche Telekom’s sales in 2009 and should contribute nearly 30 billion euros in 2015, according to a company presentation from March last year.
Other pilot projects running in Friedrichshafen include the secure e-mail system DE-mail that can be used for legally binding electronic correspondence once the German parliament passes a law to that effect. The lower house of parliament will vote on the bill on Feb. 24.
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