35 million euros for infrastructure change T-City Friedrichshafen - but how?

Geographers of the University of Bonn evaluate telecom project

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As the winner of the T-City competition, a lot will change for Friedrichshafen. At least hope city fathers and the telecom. After all, Telekom invests about 35 million euros in the expansion of fixed and mobile network infrastructure by the end of 2007 and another 80 million euros for the implementation of selected projects using the fast networks. What is changing, how businesses and citizens are reacting, how students are learning differently and how the world of work, for example, of the city administration is changing, is what Michael Lobeck and his team from the Geographical Institute of the University of Bonn want to investigate.


In Friedrichshafen, the motorway is currently being worked on everywhere - with 145 multifunctional cabins and about 120 kilometers of fiber-optic cable, the bits and bytes are soon chasing one of Germany's fastest data highways. VDSL and HSDPA are the magic letters. Behind this is "Very High Speed ​​Digital Subscriber Line" - a fast landline connection of up to 50 megabits per second and "High Speed ​​Download Packet Access" - a mobile connection that allows up to 50 times faster loading times than ISDN at the Baggersee. Such a data highway, which networks the entire city, will change a lot.

Make transitions more transparent

"For example, the proposed Education Value Chain project aims to connect all educational institutions from kindergarten to university. This is how the transitions between the facilities should become easier and more transparent for the students, "says Michael Lobeck. It is planned, for example, that lectures will be available as a video on the internet. So a prospective customer can look at the contents of different study programs, in order to decide, for which field he inscribes. In order to provide the amount of data necessary for the end user in a reasonable amount of time, the data must be brought as close as possible to the user with fiber optic cables. The longer the distance between the PC and the fiber optic cable, the more the copper cables used for the last piece slow down the data. Hence the strong expansion with fiber optic cables

"Another project that has won Friedrichshafen's bid against the other 51 applicants is the reform of the administration. There, even more than today, processes, forms and files are to be stored in digital form. We would like to investigate how that would change the Council's work process - because such a reform will not have any impact on the entire process. "The three areas of quality of life, location quality and networking are what interest geographers in particular. To do so, they conduct citizen surveys, the first in the fall, to capture the initial state. They also want to persuade individuals to keep a so-called contact diary. "It says how and when contacts were made with other people - for example, dating to the cinema via mobile phone or Internet chat, sending the latest baby video on the phone, etc." ad

Manageable test field

The competition was specifically advertised for cities from 25, 000 to 100, 000 inhabitants. "On the one hand, this is a manageable test field that makes it attractive for us as scientific evaluators, but the visibility in comparison to the investment level in a city like Friedrichshafen is different from what we say in Cologne." It is also easier to move smaller city to join in and get the important players to a table. After all, while 24 larger cities would also be equipped with VDSL by the end of 2007, Friedrichshafen would have had to wait much longer for this technology. And the accompanying expansion with HSDPA is accelerated - in coverage and in bandwidth. Instead of the usual 1.8 megabits per second, the transmission rate in Friedrichshafen is about 7.2 megabits per second by the end of the year.

What will be the greatest benefit, can not be said in the run-up to such a project as it was then predictable for the Internet, Geographer Lobeck. The companies know exactly what they expect from the new high-speed technology. They rely on the new fast connections to maintain better contact with different locations. For example, working groups in Germany and the US can simultaneously work on one and the same data-intensive project. Home work is made easier, video conferences run smoother. The private users are inaccurate in their ideas and harder to grasp. All in all, Friedrichshafen enters new territory with such a large-scale transformation of the communication infrastructure which projects and networks can not be predicted. "That's why it's so exciting to follow the process, " says Michael Lobeck.

(University of Bonn / Kirsten Achenbach, MARUM_DFG Research Center Ocean Frontier, 08.08.2007 - DLO)