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Evolving broadband wholesale in Germany: A collaborative initiative

An association of leading German telecoms operators address broadband wholesale marketplace needs with REST interfaces based on TM Forum Open APIs

Iwan Gramatikoff
16 Dec 2023
Evolving broadband wholesale in Germany: A collaborative initiative

Evolving broadband wholesale in Germany: A collaborative initiative

In Germany's dynamic telecommunications landscape, the AK S&P (Arbeitskreis Schnittstellen & Prozesse), an association of German CSPs (communication Service Providers), is taking a decisive step.

The AK S&P has initiated an ambitious project to replace the portfolio of SOAP interfaces currently used to operate the broadband wholesales marketplace, which have proven challenging to maintain, with a new set of REST interfaces based on TM Forum Open APIs, adapting them for the specific needs of the German broadband wholesale marketplace.

This project not only represents a significant technological advancement but also a commitment to fostering an open, competitive, and equitable market environment.

The role of AK S&P in shaping market dynamics

AK S&P has been instrumental in shaping the telecommunications sector in Germany. The German market is characterized by a mix of major players, including the incumbent Deutsche Telekom, as well as various local operators with their own networks and utility providers leveraging existing infrastructure. This diversity was established very early compared to other countries, and the resulting dynamic marketplace for wholesale connectivity propelled AK S&P, as early as 2012, to develop standardized interfaces for the technical processing of orders and management of end customer broadband access, allowing all CSPs to buy and/or sell broadband access on the marketplace.

Project FIT: redefining connectivity

The AK S&P project FIT (Fixnet Interfaces go TM Forum) stands at the core of this initiative. Its primary objective is to transition from the current SOAP interfaces to more advanced, REST-based TM Forum Open APIs. These new interfaces are designed to be more flexible and adaptable, catering to a wide range of use cases and products across the wholesale broadband access domain, covering value streams such as availability, provisioning, diagnostics and fault resolution as well as provider change.

Collaboration and methodology

The project adopts a collaborative and iterative approach. Regular meetings involve thorough reviews of value streams, use case qualifications, and the identification and adaptation of relevant TM Forum APIs. One of the project's significant challenges is maintaining backward compatibility with existing interfaces. The timeline set for the project aims to realize a series of prototypes and deliver a comprehensive API portfolio by the end of 2024.

Key stakeholders

The project team brings together key German market players such as Deutsche Telekom, 1&1, EWE TEL, Plusnet, Vodafone, Telefonica, Netcologne, M-Net, Glasfaser Nordwest, Deutsche Glasfaser, VSE NET, Vitroconnect, Conology, Liongate, …

In addition, Edelweiss Service Consulting, assists the project as TM Forum subject matter experts, supporting the API design and specification, ensuring the optimal utilization of TM Forum artifacts, upholding standards, and resolving design compromises when necessary.

Benefits of embracing TM Forum Open APIs

The transition to TM Forum APIs is a strategic move. As an established industry standard, it provides a robust framework and blueprint for the broadband wholesales API portfolio and furthermore ensures interoperability with a range of software vendors supporting those standards “out of the box”. This aspect is vital for integrating various applications like CRM, order management, and catalog management systems, which are essential components of the wholesales telecommunications ecosystem.

Global reach and standardization

Beyond the national scope, the FIT project aligns with TM Forum's global initiative "Standardising Wholesale Broadband – Fibre Access", which has been launched in 2023. This collaboration has international implications, particularly for countries investing heavily in fiber optic infrastructure. By establishing a standardized, open API framework, the project contributes to creating a more open and competitive global marketplace for fiber optic connectivity.

A step towards a connected future

This collaboration is more than just a technological upgrade; it represents a commitment to shaping a future-ready telecommunications landscape in Germany. By embracing new standards and fostering industry-wide collaboration, this initiative promises to drive innovation, efficiency, and growth in the telecommunications sector, both nationally and internationally.