Telenet to combine network with Fluvius and migrate to FTTH

Liberty Global-backed Belgian service provider Telenet has struck a binding agreement with utility provider and network operator Fluvius that will ultimately see Telenet evolve its HFC cable network infrastructure in a combined footprint to fibre-to-the-home technology.

Fluvius operates electricity and gas utilities across Flanders and also provides TV and broadband services in around 100 municipalities. The company is owned by a group of Flemish intermunicipal partnerships.

The pair said their ambition is to provide speeds of 10Gbps across the entire footprint in time, with a clear roadmap to achieve this.

Telenet and Fluvius will create a new independent infrastructure company or NetCo, contributing their existing HFC and fibre assets as well as developing new build fibre in the future. Fluvius will also contribute its current long-term lease to Telenet covering approximately one-third of its network footprint in Flanders.

Under the agreement, which has been long in the works, Telenet will have a 66.8% stake in NetCo with Fluvius owning the remaining 33.2%, and Telenet will fully consolidate NetCo in its financial accounts.

NetCo intends to operate a fully open access network, providing wholesale access to Telenet and other telco operators.

The ultimate goal is to create a full FTTH network covering 78% of Flanders by 2038. However, NetCo will upgrade the existing HFC network with DOCSIS technology in areas where FTTH will not be deployed.

Mike Fries, CEO, Liberty Global, said: “This partnership with Fluvius places Telenet firmly in the driver’s seat in the Belgian market, and cements NetCo as the undisputed kingmaker with a combined retail and wholesale market share close to 60%.”

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