Telenet and Fluvius have cleared a major hurdle in their mission to construct an advanced network in Flanders and parts of Brussels. On Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) granted formal approval for their planned fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) joint venture.
This development allows the establishment of a new infrastructure company, tentatively named NetCo, which is set to launch in early July 2023. According to Telenet, Micha Berger, currently serving as Special Projects Lead at Telenet, will assume the role of CEO at NetCo upon the transaction's closure.
Telenet and Fluvius Partnership
The partnership between Telenet and Fluvius was first announced on July 19, 2022, with the shared goal of constructing a state-of-the-art network. As part of this joint effort, the two companies planned to establish NetCo, a dedicated infrastructure entity tasked with building the network of the future in Flanders and select areas of Brussels.
European Commission approves joint venture
To proceed with their plans, Telenet and Fluvius required the prior approval of the European Commission, a customary requirement for transactions of this nature within the European Union. Telenet and Fluvius have received the formal clearance from the European Commission, giving them the green light to proceed.
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NetCo's shareholding and funding
The transaction is expected to close on July 1, 2023. Under the agreement, Telenet will hold a 66.8 percent stake in NetCo, with Fluvius owning the remaining 33.2 percent. NetCo will be fully funded, eliminating the need for external financing.
NetCo's strategy and fiber deployment
NetCo intends to deploy a hybrid network strategy that will deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps to all its customers, ensuring an exceptional network experience. The plan entails connecting up to 78 percent of homes in Flanders and parts of Brussels with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology within the first eight years, with a significant portion already completed.
NetCo will enhance and expand the existing Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) network in areas where fibre deployment is not feasible. According to the statement, this ambitious project represents a substantial investment of up to two billion euros.
Open access network and wholesale access
NetCo will operate a fully open access network, providing non-discriminatory access to interested retail telecommunications operators, including Telenet and Orange. The aim is to foster competition and ensure fair access to the network for all operators.
In addition, Telenet and Fluvius jointly proposed Micha Berger as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for NetCo, effective upon the transaction's closure. Berger, who currently serves as the Special Projects Lead at Telenet, previously held the position of Chief Technology and Information Officer (CTIO) at the company. His appointment as CEO of NetCo will be confirmed by the Board of Directors during the launch of the new infrastructure entity.
With the European Commission's approval and the upcoming launch of NetCo, Telenet and Fluvius are now poised to revolutionize the network landscape in Flanders and Brussels, bringing high-speed connectivity and advanced services to the region.