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EC approves Telenet and Fluvius partnership for Belgium network upgrade

Belgian service provider, Telenet and operator, Fluvius have received the green light from the European Commission (EC) for their proposed collaboration to form a new company that will help realise both parties’ ambitions of providing speeds of 10Gb/s.

The companies announced an agreement last July for the joint construction of the data network of the future, with the aim of setting up a new infrastructure company (provisional working name NetCo) to build the network of the future in Flanders and parts of Brussels.

The green light from the EC is an important step towards the completion of this agreement, and the new infrastructure company will likely effectively start in early July. When the transaction is final, Micha Berger, currently Special Projects Lead at Telenet, will become CEO of NetCo .

Telenet will hold a 66.8% stake in NetCo, while Fluvius will hold the remaining 33.2%. NetCo will be fully funded with no need for additional external financing. NetCo will operate a fully open access network without discriminatory conditions and provide wholesale access to other interested telecom operators. It will implement a hybrid network strategy to offer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s and its FTTH network is expected to cover up to 78% of homes in Flanders and parts of Brussels. In the first eight years, the network will run past most homes. In other zones, NetCo will further upgrade the hybrid fibre coax network technology (HFC). All together this represents an investment of up to €2bn.

John Porter, CEO at Telenet says: "I am very pleased that the European Commission has given us the green light to build the network of the future together with Fluvius. Our networks are already 90% fibre optic. necessary to roll out to the last kilometre. This approval gives a new boost to the economy and will enable our region to take everyone on the digital highway"

Adds Frank Vanbrabant, CEO at Fluvius: “The European Commission has given permission for NetCo to start up, which is very good news. All lights are now green: our joint subsidiary with Telenet can already start in the coming weeks and prepare the roll-out of the data network of the future in the field. As a result, all Flemish families, companies and governments are assured of high-performance data networks that fully support life and entrepreneurship in our society.”

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