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This is an archived article published in November 2003
German data highways
cross at Frankfurt/Main

Frankfurt is Germany’s internet capital, according to a report by the research organisation TSN emnid. In Frankfurt, home to the European Central Bank (ECB), some 61 per cent of the population are connected to the internet. The figures for Munich and Berlin are 58 and 57 per cent respectively.

Michael Klein, director of the Frankfurt Institute of New Media (INM), told CityMayors that the internet had become an integral part of most of Frankfurt’s citizens’ lifes. The Institute is located next door to the German Internet Exchange (De-Cix) on a site previously occupied by Messer Griesheim a company which produced industrial gases. Frankfurt’s city government point to this example as evidence that Frankfurt is successfully transforming itself from an industrial to a financial and technological service centre. More than 2,200 technology companies are already located in Frankfurt. The De-Cix channels most of Germany’s national and international internet traffic.

The era of fast data links via fibreglass cable began earlier in Frankfurt than anywhere else in Germany. In 1995 the City allowed the first cable companies to lay their cables under the city's streets. Today more than 600 kilometres of fibreglass cable have been laid, corresponding to almost half of Frankfurt's street network. Almost all German data highways intersect in the city.

Arnold Nipper from the German Internet Economy told CityMayors that during the past 12 months Germany had experienced a data stream explosion. “Whereas in September 2002 four gigabits per second were registered, 12 months later the peak throughput is ten gigabits per second,” he said. The capacity of De-Cix is currently being increased to 16 gigabits per second at a cost of almost one million euro. A second internet exchange is also planned for late 2003.

The huge quantities of data originate from various sources. First, there are the private clients who, thanks to the faster DSL data lines, can receive ever larger amounts of data in a short space of time. Then there are internet services like emails, without which whole branches of industry and business could no longer function. In addition, business clients are benefiting from a number of software developments which were developed during the past two years and whose advantages are only now being felt on the internet.

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