WEMACOM Breitband GmbH supplies broadband to the regions of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg, and the company has an ambitious plan for the roll-out of its fibre network to both private and business customers. The project is among the largest of its kind in Germany, and by delivering plug-and-play technical cabins, Priess A/S from Denmark is playing a key role in the project’s success.
Progressive broadband provider WEMACOM is seeking to accelerate the digital transition in their region and thus fulfil a need which has been thrown into even sharper relief as a result of coronavirus lockdowns. The project is divided into four subprojects and is expected to reach completion in 2025. Along the way, 5,000 km of network will be put underground and 22,000 km of fibre cables will be laid for both companies and consumers in western Mecklenburg and Schwerin, says Volker Buck, Managing Director of WEMACOM Breitband GmbH.
WEMACOM Breitband is owned by WEMACOM AG. The company is a regional provider of electricity and telecommunications in western Mecklenburg and Schwerin and is responsible for the roll-out of the fibre network.
The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the German federal government are supporting the project to give an extra boost to the development of a lagging digital infrastructure. The project is among the largest of its kind in Germany and represents an important step forward in the development of digital infrastructure in Mecklenburg and Schwerin.
In Germany, broadband deployment stands at only 17% and so the Federal Government in Berlin has set aside 40 billion euros to expand and develop the network. Expansion is urgently needed and there is a political will to put action behind the rhetoric.
Speed and flexibility in the establishment of the fibre network are crucial as customer needs are evolving dynamically. Central pivot points in this development are the many stations at which the signal is split from the fibre backbone and directed out towards individual consumers and companies.
“What we were after was a plug-and-play solution which would give us a ready-made station where all we would need to do was provide power and fibre cables,” explains Volker Buck.
This was a solution which Danish company Priess A/S – based in Vinderup, northern Denmark – was able to deliver. Priess is able to deliver turn-key stations via truck so all the customer needs to do is ensure that the relevant installations are delivered to the technical station and that there is a sand cushion foundation for it to stand upon.
“The cabin is fully assembled at our factory in Vinderup and comes complete with electrical installations, ODF racks, active racks, cooling system and fibre guides,” explains Torben Engmann Kristensen, product manager for technical cabins at Priess A/S.
“Technical cabins from Priess are simply easier to install out on the field, and the fact they are delivered turnkey makes them easy to deploy,” explains Marco Angelini from Fr. August Behrends, a distributor for Priess on the German market. They take complete responsibility for delivery of the pre-assembled technical cabins to WEMACOM.
Since WEMACOM began their fibre roll-out in 2017, more than 60 technical cabins have been delivered and it is planned that a total of 130 technical cabins will be supplied overall. The cabins measure 2.55 x 5.35 x 3.00 metres and are built in a sandwich construction with steel sheets and 100 mm insulation in the walls.
The alternative to a Priess technical cabin would be a traditional model made from concrete. This is a more laborious process and it can take up to six months to construct this kind of station, meaning that a technical cabin from Priess cuts ordinary delivery time in half, explains Marco Angelini.
Concrete is also a more expensive solution, he argues. Up until now, it has been difficult to change traditions on the German market, where concrete is usually equated with quality, but this fixed mindset is gradually being challenged by lighter constructions and plug-and-play technology.
“We chose to use technical cabins from Priess on the basis of the overall solution and its quality. The price/performance ratio is good in comparison to other solutions. Particularly important factors for us were the well-considered nature of the solution, the quality of its delivery and its flexibility,” says Volker Buck from WEMACOM Breitband.
“We have had very positive feedback from our employees. The solution functions well and our technicians find the cabins easier to work in. Coordination between Priess and Fa. August Berends was top-notch as well, even despite the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic,” he continues.
Torben Engmann Kristensen from Priess explains that he begins by designing the actual technology for the cabin to ensure that it meets our customer demands – drawing on Priess’ many years of experience in configuring technical cabins as he does. Once the technology is in place, the rest of the cabin is then designed around what is contained inside.
The distance of some 300 to 400 km between the site and Priess’ factory in Vinderup is not something Volker Buck considers to be in any way problematic. On the contrary, he says, pointing to the good level of dialogue experienced throughout the project.
Follow-up meetings were held every 14 days via Teams and employees from both Priess and Fr. August Behrends GmbH have paid continuous visits to WEMACOM whenever there have been challenges underway.
The roll-out of WEMACOM’s fibre network is set to continue over the coming years and the plans will encompass a large number of cabins from Priess. The final number is not yet known precisely as the project remains dynamic in its evolution, with more and more customers wanting broadband installed.
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