In February 2009, the German federal government published its broadband strategy in order to provide a major boost to broadband rollout, formulating two key objectives in the process,
- Nationwide capable broadband access available by the end of 2010.
- Regarding rollout of high-speed Next Generation networks (NGA), 75% of households should have broadband access with transmission rates of at least 50 MB/sec by 2014.
These objectives relate to the two central issues of the political discussion on broadband rollout, namely deployment in rural areas and rollout of high-speed networks. These two topics were also the focus of the work of the NGA Forum, an advisory board founded in May 2010 by the Bundesnetzagentur for promoting dialogue between the Bundesnetzagentur, network operators, manufacturers, states and local authorities on NGA rollout.
The NGA-Forum focused on the following topics
- Broadband rollout in rural areas
- Expansion of high-speed networks
- Open Access and interoperability
A summary of the activities can be found in the “NGA Forum Report” published in December 2012.
In relation to the topic of open access and interoperability the NGA-Forum developed a number of specifications and documents focusing on both technical specifications and the development of standardized processes.
As the construction of high-speed broadband networks (Next Generation Access – NGA) demands the coordination of numerous actors in the telecommunications sector, interoperability is a core element in the success of Open Access activities. Interoperability between networks is a core element in the success of future broadband network infrastructure expansion. In order to limit transaction costs in particular, it is necessary to develop uniform national specifications for wholesale products.
In interoperability, a significant breakthrough has been reached for planning security and additional investment in new broadband networks. With the adoption of the "Technical and operational aspects of access to optical fibre networks and other NGA networks" and "Specifications of a Layer 2 Bitstream Access Product" documents (see below), the NGA Forum has made a key contribution to achieving the objectives of the federal government's broadband strategy. There was a strong consensus from numerous telecommunication industry actors, in which objectivity and willingness to compromise stood out.
The Bundesnetzagentur welcomed the consensus by numerous market players on these documents. These lay the foundations on which a number of actors, particularly those in local and regional broadband networks, are able to offer their services competitively on a cross-network basis.
Ideally, the service specifications could be used as a simple basis (in the form of a sample agreement) for bilateral cooperation agreements and adapted to specific situations:
Technical and operational aspects of access to optical fibre networks and other NGA networks, May 2011
Grundsatzdokument - Mai 2011 (pdf / 3 MB) - not available in Englisch
A policy document published in May 2011 ("Technical and operational aspects of access to optical fibre networks and other NGA networks") describes, compendium-style, the technical possibilities of expanding NGA structures, in addition to the fundamental links between network segments, possible network access points and wholesale products.
Architectures and technologies are presented and compared neutrally; foreseeable medium-term developments are also taken into consideration. There is a wide range of potential wholesale products, upon which various demands can be placed. The presentation of possibilities however does not come with the expectation that all wholesale products need to be offered by every network operator. In terms of interoperation which can be implemented quickly, there are first detailed descriptions of passive infrastructure (ducts and dark fibre) and a Layer 2 bitstream product (Ethernet BSA) as wholesale products.
The discussion of business processes focuses on the development of standardised processes using the example of an active Layer 2 product. The policy document covers the entire range of process topics recommended for standardisation and demonstrates the form and depth of a potential agreement using the example of the central processes. The results obtained here relate directly to the second results section, namely the specifications of a Layer 2 access product.
Service description of a layer-2 access product: L2-BSA IITechnical specification (V 1.0) October 2011
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In specifications of a Layer 2 bitstream access product published in October 2011, the framework specifications and process definitions in the policy document were picked up and used as a template for an actual description of an L2-BSA wholesale product. This defines in detail the technical and operational interfaces, the key business processes necessary for integration and the requirements of the technical interfaces needed for this. The description can be viewed as a recommendation for Layer 2 interoperation.
The specification of the technical interfaces is neutral in terms of access network architectures and technologies. It sets out the basic structures, models, protocols, parameters etc for interoperation. The performance parameters are to be set by the contractual partners when implementation actually occurs. These are dependent on the one hand on the capability of the selected technology and architecture of the access network, and on the other on the service provider's requirements.
Technical Interface Description of the Web Services of the Supplier/Partner Requisition Interface (S/PRI) (V 3.0)
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The description of the business processes aims to provide NGA operators and suppliers of end customer NGA products with descriptions of the processes necessary during wholesale product cooperation that are uniform and as simple as possible. In addition to the principles for the order of network interfaces between NGA operators and end customer contractual partners, the description also contains a detailed presentation in graphics and text of the key business events in the relationship with the end customer (provision, termination, fault repair).
Particular attention is paid to a uniform model for switching provider, in order to allow the end customer to switch with as little interruption as possible, via reliable coordination of all parties involved. The presentation is rounded off by agreements on invoicing and an overview of the necessary Service Level Agreements. Furthermore, the web-based interfaces for processing order and fault repair procedures, as well as operational and diagnostic tasks, are defined, with their technical implementation described.
The NGA Forum has continued its work in 2012. In June 2012 the following documents were published which however as of now are not available in English:
Specification of a Layer 0- wholesale product (dark fibre)
Leistungsbeschreibung Ebene 0 Zugangsprodukte - Glasfaser (pdf / 276 KB) -
L2-BSA II Technical specification (V 2.0) now including features for business products
L2-BSA II – Technische Spezifikation - Version2.1 (pdf / 1,010 KB)
L2-BSA IV – Diagnosis interface (DIAGSS) (V 1.0)
L2-BSA IV – Beschreibung Diagnoseschnittstelle (DIAGSS)- Version 1.0 (pdf / 504 KB)
For a full documentation of the NGA-Forum activities including all documents and presentation held during the meeting see: