Telenet and Fluvius launch new fibre entity NetCo in Belgium

fibre broadband

Liberty Global owned Telenet has teamed up with fellow Belgian operator Fluvius to launch a new firm called NetCo – ‘a new self-funding independent infrastructure company’ in Belgium.

Comprising the fixed assets of the two owning firms, NetCo will evolve the current hybrid fibre coaxial network into a Fibre-to-the-Home network, targeting 78% of their combined footprint in Flanders, Belgium by 2038. Telenet will own 66.8% of the venture and Fluvius 33.2%.

Where FTTH will not be deployed, NetCo will upgrade the existing hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network using DOCSIS technology, we are told, and the firm says it will partner with both strategic and/or financial partners to develop a ‘data network of the future’. The total investment for NetCo over the period is expected to be up to €2 billion, of which the majority will be seen within the next eight years.

The partnership and new entity is apparently part of Liberty Global’s ‘10 Gigabit network strategies’, which includes upgrades of Virgin Media O2’s fixed network in the UK and Ireland, VodafoneZiggo’s HFC deployments including DOCSIS 4.0 in the Netherlands, and a hybrid approach in Switzerland where Sunrise is incorporating DOCSIS 3.1 and 4.0 upgrade technologies, wholesale and select fibre builds.

“This partnership with Fluvius places Telenet firmly in the driver’s seat in the Belgian market, and cements NetCo as the undisputed kingmaker with a combined retail and wholesale market share close to 60%,” said Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global. “The partnership also highlights the effectiveness of our network strategies. By utilising a combination of the best network upgrade technologies available, we are firmly on the road to offering up to 10 gig broadband speeds in all our markets. Almost 100% of Liberty Global’s networks already offer gigabit speeds to customers today, with VodafoneZiggo due to complete its work to deliver gigabit speeds across its entire network by the end of this year. Our ongoing network development strategies will enable us to extend our leadership positions in each of our core European markets.”

The investment will be financed from NetCo’s ‘robust cash flow’ as well as Telenet’s €745 million cash pot it got from a recent tower divestment.


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