Belgium’s Telenet and Fluvius have entered into a binding agreement to partner on what they term “the data network of the future”.
Both companies’ ambition is to provide speeds of 10 Gbps across the entire footprint in time, for which there is a clear roadmap. As announced last October, both companies will incorporate a new independent self-funding infrastructure company (working name “NetCo”), of which Telenet will own 66.8% and Fluvius 33.2%. Combining both companies’ fixed network assets, NetCo will invest in the gradual evolution of their current HFC network infrastructure into a FTTH network, targeting 78% of their combined footprint in Flanders by 2038, through a combination of own build and/or a potential collaboration with external partners.
Telenet’s footprint in parts of Brussels and Wallonia will also be included in NetCo and be part of NetCo’s investments. The estimated investment of up to maximum €2.0 billion will be funded through NetCo’s cash flow as well as additional intragroup financing facilities and will therefore not require any incremental external financing. The majority of this investment will be done within the next eight years. NetCo will also focus on upgrading the existing HFC network with DOCSIS technology in areas where FTTH will not be deployed. This will ensure that everyone in Flanders will continue to enjoy the fastest and most reliable internet connection.
Commenting on the development, John Porter, Telenet CEO, said: “This partnership kickstarts our next investment cycle and will ensure that our state-of-the art networks continue to be in the vanguard: remember that we provide already today 1 Gbps speeds across our entire footprint to all our customers.
“Using a mixture of both HFC and fibre technologies, we have a clear roadmap to offer all our customers speeds of 10 Gbps. With Fluvius as a strong partner, we will continue to develop our HFC infrastructure and implement as well new fibre technology, mainly in the last parts of our network, from the street into the homes. This ensures that our customers will continue to enjoy the network experience, providing them peace of mind, as we make the right technology choices in terms of fixed, mobile and in-home connectivity. We are known for this and will continue to be so”.
Fluvius CEO Frank Vanbrabant added: “At Fluvius, we are very pleased that in this partnership with Telenet, we can prepare Flanders for the digital life of tomorrow. The data network of the future will avoid a new digital divide and ensure that all Flemish families and companies can count on super-fast data connections in the world of tomorrow. We want to realize an open and non-discriminatory network at the lowest possible social cost”.