Fiberklaar, a network operator in Flanders, has made impressive progress in expanding its open fibre optic network to enhance high-speed internet connectivity. Over the past six months, Fiberklaar, the joint venture between Belgian operator Proximus and Sweden's EQT Infrastructure, has doubled its network size, spanning more than 2,200 kilometres and reaching over 80 municipalities, according to the company.
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Expansion of Fiber Optic Network
Having started rolling out the network in March 2021, Fiberklaar announced the first 1,000 kilometres of fibre in November 2022. This accelerated pace of fibre expansion comes as a response to the growing demand for reliable and fast internet connections. However, recent reports highlight Belgium's relatively low fibre optic coverage compared to other European countries.
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Belgium's Low Fibre Optic Coverage
A new report by the FTTH Council Europe reveals that Belgium has a coverage ratio of only 20.7 percent in 2022, positioning it at the bottom of the list. In contrast, the Netherlands boasts a much higher coverage ratio of 67.6 percent.
Fiberklaar said it had set an ambitious target of building 1.5 million connections in Flanders by 2028. Currently, Fiberklaar is actively operating in more than 80 municipalities, with a strong presence in Antwerp and East Flanders, encompassing 38 and 26 municipalities, respectively.
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According to the statement, Fiberklaar's investment of over 2.5 billion euros is funded entirely by the company, ensuring that end customers do not bear any costs for network construction. Instead, operators utilizing the network will be invoiced for access.
To encourage widespread adoption, Fiberklaar offers free home connections within the network's reach. This includes the installation of the necessary fibre optic cables from the street to the house, enabling residents to connect to high-speed internet services seamlessly.
Fiberklaar collaborates with several operators, including Proximus, Mobile Vikings, Multifiber, RapidXS, and edpnet, who provide internet services over the fibre network. While residents are not obliged to switch to these participating operators immediately, Fiberklaar believes that having the infrastructure in place prepares users for a seamless transition in the future.
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As digital connectivity becomes increasingly vital, Fiberklaar says its efforts to bridge the connectivity gap in Belgium are crucial for driving the region's technological advancement and ensuring its competitiveness in the digital era.