HomeAccessEC approves broadband JV between Belgium's Telenet and utilityco Fluvius

    EC approves broadband JV between Belgium’s Telenet and utilityco Fluvius


    The joint venture will build out fibre and upgrade the cable network

    The European Commission has given the go-ahead for a joint venture (JV) to deliver FTTH between Belgian operator Telenet and Flemish utilities group Fluvius. Telenet will have a 66.8% stake in NetCo with Fluvius owning the remaining 33.2%. Telenet says that NetCo will be fully funded with no dependency on obtaining incremental external financing.

    It is now expected to launch at the start of July, a year after the two announced an agreement to build a hybrid network to provide speeds of up to 10Gbps for all their customers.

    It is expected that up to 78% of all homes in Flanders and parts of Brussels will be passed by fibre, mostly before 2031: according to the FTTH Council Europe, Belgium languishes at the bottom of its EU 39 ranking (published in April) with 20.7% of premises passed as of September 2022.

    No wonder Liberty Global’s CEO, Mike Fries, has expressed in acquiring Telenet and taking it private on the grounds there is so much scope to create value.

    Hybrid strategy

    Elsewhere the proposed joint netco will upgrade and expand the technology of the hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network. Overall they will invest up to €2 billion and operate on a non-discriminatory basis to retail service operators, including Telenet and Orange Belgium.

    John Porter, CEO of Telenet, said, “I am very happy 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 today and thanks to this cooperation, we will soon also deploy fibre to the last mile where needed. This approval will give new impulses to our economy and will allow our region to take everyone on the digital highway.”

    Micha Berger will become the JV’s CEO, subject to the new board’s approval. Currently he is Special Projects Lead at Telenet and previously was ​its CTIO and won Mobile Europe’s CTO of the Year in the Trailblazer category in 2020.