Iliad’s Play to fold UPC network into new JV with plan to build out to 6m homes

Iliad Telecom-owned Polish mobile operator Play is to fold the fixed-line HFC and fibre infrastructure of UPC Poland, the cable operator it acquired from Liberty Global, into a new joint venture with private equity outfit InfraVia Capital Partners.

Subject to regulatory approval, InfraVia will spend PLN1.775 billion to take a 50% stake in a new Play Group subsidiary, to be known as FiberForce. By the end of this year, Play will transfer the HFC and FTTx broadband infrastructure of UPC Polska, covering 3.7 million homes, to this unit.

According to Play, FiberForce also has the ambition to build out to over two million additional fibre-connected homes, though without specifying a date.

The new company will make its network available to other operators, including UPC, now a service company, and Play in an open and non-discriminatory way, according to Play.

Jean Marc Harion, president of Play and UPC, said: “ This partnership is another milestone in strengthening our position as a nationwide leader in infrastructure, enabling millions of new customers in Poland to use super-fast internet. Thanks to the wholesale open access model, we want to set new standards for broadband access and ensure freedom of choice for all. We hope that this new investment will help significantly reduce the digital divide and ensure the development of innovation for the benefit of our customers, society and the economy.”

Vincent Levita, president and founder of InfraVia, said: “We are very pleased that we can develop our cooperation with the iliad Group through a joint venture with the Play Group. This will enable us to build a key asset in this developing sector together with a leading partner in the Polish market. “

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