Just before the turn of the year, Renee Herbst was closer to his goal than ever for a moment.

Herbst, 50 years old, owned a metal construction company in Arendsee in the Altmark, Saxony-Anhalt.

6750 people live here on the shores of the lake of the same name.

The community is one of the smallest in the state.

It's two hours by car to Berlin and Hamburg.

Renee Herbst feels that what some would call remote is well connected.

The location between the big cities is practical for his company: Sometimes his 25 employees manufacture windows for a building in Hamburg.

Sometimes they build fire doors or facades for a company near Berlin.

Despite the good order situation, Renee Herbst is missing something crucial: fast internet.

Because even a trade like metal construction is increasingly becoming a digital business these days.

In order to be able to plan windows, doors and facades correctly and integrate them into a building, Herbst's customers send him floor plans of buildings, drawings of facades or the building infrastructure.

Most of the time, these are large files that his employees have to process and send back to the customers.

The files often go back and forth several times.

"With our Internet crawling connection, it takes forever," says Herbst annoyed.

Herbst employees often have to make several attempts before a mail with a larger file in the attachment goes out at all.

All of this costs time - and therefore money.

In addition, the programs that Herbst's employees use to work on the technical drawings require regular updates.

They must also be downloaded from the Internet.

"We can only start the downloads outside of working hours, otherwise the entire operation is idle here," says Herbst.

Depending on the size, Herbst cannot even send an email at the same time.

The Internet speed in his company is 16 megabits per second.

Enough to take part in a video conference with a single computer.

Far too little to send or download larger files with several computers at the same time.

The industrial park in which Herbst is based with his company has no fiber optic connection.

The cables end in a gray box just before the site.

So the solution seems to be within reach.

But the missing meters seem insurmountable.

Telekom, which is responsible for the expansion of fiber optics in the region, has not wanted to build the missing meters at its own expense.

When asked, a press spokesman for Telekom reports: Autumn can order a fiber optic connection from Telekom himself.

But he couldn't say what it would cost.

Even if the Telekom spokesman fails to provide a reason, one can assume that given only twelve companies in the Arendsee industrial park, the expansion would be simply uneconomical for Telekom.

In order to help the entrepreneurs, the mayor of Arendsee, Norman Klebe, took the initiative himself.

Now, in times of Corona, he is receiving more and more inquiries from companies and private individuals who would like to move to the region.

According to Klebe, several IT companies are showing great interest.

"Many people are probably no longer at ease with the crowd in the big cities," says Klebe and sounds a little triumphant.

Interested parties - entrepreneurs and private individuals - would ask him three questions: Are there cheap building plots?

What about daycare centers and schools?

And is there fast internet?

Klebe can serve with properties, schools and day-care centers, "but without a fiber optic connection we're out," says the mayor, and any triumph has disappeared from his voice.

A fiber optic connection is as important as a street on the doorstep.

Norman Klebe, Mayor of Arendsee

Renee Herbst and the other entrepreneurs in the industrial park suggested to Klebe that they jointly commission the last few meters they lack for fast internet and pay for it themselves.

An energy supplier recently laid pipes in the industrial park.

The pipes could now have been used for the fiber optic connection.

A big advantage, because such earthworks are usually the most expensive part of the expansion.

Mayor Klebe made an offer: at least five companies should have participated.

Everyone would have had to contribute 3500 euros for laying the cable.

Each connection would then have cost 299 euros per month.

"In the end, only three companies wanted to take part, it was too expensive for the others, so the costs would have risen to 7,000 euros per company," explains Klebe, "and that in turn was too expensive for some of the remaining three."