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European Commission approves Telenet Fluvius partnership

The European Commission has given a green light to Belgium’s Telenet and Fluvius to go ahead with their planned partnership to build out fibre in Flanders and Brussels.

Telenet said that the approval marked an important step to finalize the agreement and allows the pair’s new infrastructure company, currently under the working name NetCo, to effectively launch early in July.

Micha Berger will become CEO of NetCo as of closing of the transaction. Berger is currently special projects lead at Telenet. ​ Before taking up that role, he was chief technology and information officer.
​Telenet and Fluvius announced their agreement to jointly build out the fibre network in July last year.

The plan to create a new infrastructure company, NetCo, was subject to prior approval by the EC. Following the EC’s green light, Telenet and Fluvius are now expected to close the transaction on July 1. 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.

The new company will deploy a hybrid network strategy to enable speeds of up to 10 Gbps for all its customers. Up to 78% of all homes in Flanders and parts of Brussels are expected to be passed by FTTH, with the majority already in the first eight years. In other areas, NetCo will further upgrade and expand the technology of the existing HFC network. Overall the partners will invest up to €2 billion.

NetCo will operate an open access network, providing wholesale access to interested retail telecommunications operators, including Telenet and Orange.

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% fiber today and thanks to this cooperation, we will soon also deploy fiber 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”.

Frank Vanbrabant, CEO of Fluvius, said: “The European Commission approves the launch of NetCo, which is extremely good news. All the lights are now green: our joint subsidiary with Telenet can start operating in the coming weeks and prepare the roll-out of the data network of the future in the field. As a result, all Flemish families, companies, and authorities are ensured of high-performance data networks that fully support life and enterprise in our society. Not only today and tomorrow, but also the day after tomorrow.” Digital TV Europe

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