Wyre, a network company new to Telenet and Fluvius, has connected its first home in Mechelen to its new fiber optic network. This year, the company wants to connect 100,000 homes.
Internet operator Telenet and infrastructure company Fluvius have pooled their network activities together in Wyre, which began on July 1. In addition to Telenet, Orange is also one of the company’s clients. So their customers are browsing for Wyre cables. Wyre currently operates a network in Flanders and parts of Brussels that combines fiber optics with classic coaxial cable. In the next 15 years, Wyre wants to have 78 percent of households connect to the home with fiber optics, so that higher Internet speeds are possible.
The rollout will begin in a number of cities. Misha Berger, CEO of Wyre mentioned Mechelen, Kortrijk, Leuven, Duffel, Roeselare, Leuven and Sint-Niklaas, among others. At 120,000 addresses, ducts are already in place to quickly extend fiber optic cable, without major excavation work.
Competitor Proximus has been installing fiber across the country for some time. Wyre is now adding another cable, though there have been calls for collaboration. “Each has its own vision and its own business case,” Berger said. He emphasized that Wyre’s fiber optic network is open and therefore we welcome other telecom providers besides Telenet and Orange. Proximus is also looking for alternative players for its network.
Telenet and Fluvius start later and are slower than Proximus because their current network can already handle 1Gbps everywhere, Berger said. Proximus already offers 10G in some places, but according to Wyre’s CEO, most customers won’t notice a difference. “For gamers, heavy internet users, and even small businesses, 1Gb is definitely a good thing. In the next 10-20 years, 10Gb will become even more important.
Footpaths have reopened
Because of the competition, footpaths have to be broken again and additional cable added, underground or against the facade. Berger emphasized that Wire would try to avoid inconveniences as much as possible. “We also wouldn’t insist on opening the front lawn if customers didn’t feel it was a really good time to call,” he says.
Proximus removes old copper cabling five years after installing its fiber optic network, at which point it effectively forces customers to convert to fiber optics. Berger said Wire won’t be removing the old cable anytime soon. Wyre will not install fiber optics in the 22 percent of homes in the network because it is not financially or physically feasible. In those areas, the company will upgrade the existing network to enable speeds of up to 10Gbps.
It is not yet clear how Telenet and Orange will market the new network. They have not yet put out a commercial for the new network. At Proximus, subscriptions to the optical fiber network cost in some cases a few euros more per month than the old copper cable.
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