Belgian fixed line and broadband incumbent Belgacom has revealed plans to extend trials of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services to the cities of Sint-Truiden and La Louviere, De Standaard reports. The move follows initial trials of the service in the municipality of Rochefort, where the telco installed fibre cable directly linking approximately 800 homes to its network. On the back of the trials Belgacom said that the results had been very encouraging, with the operator connecting users at speeds of around 50Mbps. In the initial trials in Rochefort Belgacom installed the necessary fibre cables above the ground, affixed to walls, rather than underground as is traditional. It said it expected the unique method of deployment to allow it deliver FTTH services at a lower cost. However, for the two newly proposed trials the operator is expected to install the fibre infrastructure in the normal manner, with Scott Alcott, executive vice president of Belgacom’s Service Delivery Engine, noting: ‘In Sint-Truiden and La Louviere the (over-ground) experiment will stop, with installation of underground cables. We must consider how long it takes to install equipment to customers, how we have to dig, with what machines and how we should use all regulations and procedures.’
While FTTH trials are underway, Belgacom is keen to stress that there is still room for development in its copper wire-based broadband services. The operator expects to increase the download speeds available on its VDSL2 network to 30Mbps in 2010, rising to 60Mbps later on. The telco said its VDSL2 network now reaches approximately 70% of the population, and it hopes to increase this to 80%, although it has not provided a timeframe for its coverage target to be reached by.