Avantis, Deutsche Telekom Deal Changes German Net Landscape

Avantis and Deutsche Telekom have signed the first transfrontier telecoms contract in Europe, signalling the transition of Germany’s Internet epicenter from the eastern part of the country to the west.

Total telecoms infrastructure for Internet, telephone and data traffic will be implemented by Deutsche Telekom at Avantis, the European Science and Business Park, which straddles the Dutch/German border between Aachen in Germany, and Heerlen in the Netherlands, another European first.

Domestic call tariffs will apply from the Park, whether calls are made to Germany or to the Netherlands. Park telecoms, Internet, wireless and wireline will be free. Among the first investors are Sweden’s Ericsson and the Netherlands’ second wireless operator, Libertel, whose IPO is due soon on the Amsterdam Exchange.

The establishment of the German capital in Berlin, which is about as far east as you can go in Germany without being in Poland, is bringing about a shift of alliances on the non-virtual landscape. The Bonn-centred Rhineland is re-orienting towards the west.

Wolfgang Clement, Premier of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, recently stated that he looked upon the Benelux countries as his state’s natural commercial partners.

This puts the German city of Aachen at the center of the economic powerhouse of northwestern Europe, taking on the south of England, the north of France and bits of Scandinavia. The city itself is developing a reputation as something of a Silicon Valley on the basis of exciting ICT IPOs like Aixtron, winner of the Focus German Investors’ Prize and hancke & peter, the first to go public in euros.

Aachen’s Technical University, one of the world’s top five, and research institutes like the Fraunhofer Laser Institute, the Juelich Research Center, Ford Research, DSM Research, the Mitsubishi Semiconductor plant and Ericsson are creating an interesting new ICT focus for Europe at Avantis.

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