HomeAccess1&1 Versatel to buy BT’s fibre net in four German cities, advances...

    1&1 Versatel to buy BT’s fibre net in four German cities, advances in Berlin


    British operator continues to sell off overseas assets

    BT is to sell its fibre structure in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart to Versatel 1&1 – subject to approval by the cities’ authorities.

    Versatel is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Internet, which also owns the unit formerly known as 1&1 Drillisch, which is in the throes of building out a national 5G network in Germany. United Internet was founded by billionaire Ralf Dommermuth, who is its chair and CEO.

    Rapid expansion

    The BT lines are to be absorbed into Versatel’s network but the deal includes a leaseback agreement for their use and will retain a 6,000km backbone in Germany that links major cities, plus a security centre in Frankfurt.

    Versatel’s fibre network, before the BT assets are added, is about 52,000 km, covering 300 German cities, and is looking to expand further.

    It has just announced it will expand its footprint in Berlin using Vattenfall Eurofiber’s infrastructure. Last week it announced winning a contract to provide fibre connections to the city’s new research and business Park, Berlin TXL – an €8 billion project to turn the former Tegel Airport into a residential smart city, university campus and innovation hub for businesses.

    Rapid reduction

    For its part, BT Global (formerly BT Global Services, renamed after the Italian accounting scandal from which BT’s share price has never recovered) has been steadily selling off assets on mainland Europe and elsewhere. Its focus is on serving multinationals globally, rather than running local operations. To this end, it still has operations in 26 countries.

    In December, BT announced it would fold BT Global and its ailing Enterprise unit into BT Business.