Belgian fibreco becomes Wyre, network build starts next month


The fibre joint venture established in Belgium last summer by Telenet and Fluvius has unveiled its new identity in time to start  network rollout next month.

The company, until now known as NetCo, has become Wyre. It’s one of those quirky rebrands with a hidden meaning: the letter ‘y’ in the middle of Wyre stands for ‘you’ and represents the operator’s aim to “take everyone into the digital future” through the upgrade of the network, it explained.

Hmmmm. We’ve certainly seen worse rebrands, but the letter ‘y’ explanation is a bit thin. Then again, presumably the firm would have been called Wire otherwise, and that would have been tricky to Google, so it’s a win on that score.

Ultimately, the company’s name is much less of a big deal than its network rollout. And that’s about to kick off.

Liberty Global’s Telenet and utility networks company Fluvius inked a JV almost a year ago with the aim of upgrading their HFC networks to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), or in some cases adding new DOCSIS technology to the cable where FTTH would not make sense. Telenet owns 66.8% of the venture and Fluvius the remaining 33.2%. The JV’s goal is to upgrade 78% of their combined footprint in Flanders to FTTH by 2038, both through their own buildout and collaboration with external partners. The venture also includes Telenet’s footprint in Brussels and parts of Wallonia.

The project will cost a maximum of €2 billion, they said, with the majority of the investment to be committed in the first eight years.

Late last month the project got the go-ahead from the European Commission, which has had more than half an eye on competition in Belgium of late.

It approved Orange’s proposed acquisition of VOO following a lengthy competition investigation back in March, in no small part due to remedies agreed by the former, chief among which was its agreement to provide Telenet access to its fixed infrastructure in the Walloon region and parts of Brussels. Orange was able to close the VOO purchase earlier this month.

When it announced its own European Commission thumbs-up, Wyre – then still known as NetCo – noted that it will operate a fully open access network and will provide “wholesale access to interested retail telecommunications operators, including Telenet and Orange.”

Clearly the Commission is satisfied that while the shape of the Belgian market is changing, it will remain competitive through these various access commitments.

Having jumped through the required regulatory hoops, Wyre was then able to name a chief executive, picking Micha Berger for the role. Berger was then serving as special projects lead at Telenet, having previously been the firm’s CTIO.

“I am very happy that the European Commission has given us the green light to build the network of the future together with Fluvius,” said John Porter, CEO of Telenet, at the time. “Our networks are already 90% fibre today and thanks to this cooperation, we will soon also deploy fibre to the last mile where needed.”

It’s a lengthy network upgrade project, so ‘soon’ might be subjective for many Belgian households. That said, the start of the upgrade is certainly coming soon. Next month, in fact.

Wyre will start building its new network in early July, it confirmed this week. Expect to see more from Wyre in the near future.


Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Register for the newsletter here.

Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.