Makedonski Telekom (MakTel), the dominant telecoms provider in Macedonia (FYROM), has reported a solid if unspectacular 2008 and launched upon a three-year EUR160 million (USD205.7 million) network modernisation programme to stop a further decline in its fixed line telephony business. According to a report from online news portal BBN, the plan was outlined by MakTel CEO Nikolai Beckers, who said the investments will be made in deploying fibre-optic networks, its so-called ‘Home Optics’ project, as well as in auxiliary infrastructure and related telecoms equipment. The telco, which is majority-owned by Deutsche Telekom through Hungarian PTO Magyar Telekom, offers fixed line and internet access services as well as providing mobile services through its T-Mobile Macedonia unit. It is understood the proposed CAPEX will be split roughly equally between the operator’s fixed and mobile businesses. Beckers confirmed that while the number of fixed lines in service had fallen by 5% to 470,000 last year, the drop was offset by a rise in broadband internet and IPTV subscribers. The company has reported increased popularity for its 3 MADZ internet packages and strong uptake of dual- and triple-play offers. As at 31 December 2008 MakTel had signed up more than 95,000 ADSL subscribers, up from 48,214 a year earlier, and aims to sign up an additional 50,000 users this year.