Swisscom, the dominant provider of fixed line telephony services in Switzerland, and local utilities provider Energie Wasser Bern (EWB) have signed a cooperation agreement to jointly finance and construct a fibre-optic network which will cover a third of all buildings in the city of Berne by the end of next year. Four fibres will be laid per household with Swisscom and EWB taking one each for their sole use and the rest open to lease as required. Deployment schedules expect that by 2017, 90% of all buildings will have a fibre-optic connection, and by 2020, the network will cover the entire city. Overall construction costs for the project will be around CHF172 million (USD226 million) and Swisscom will provide 60% of the investment required while EWB will provide the remainder. EWB will take on the fibre-optic network deployment for 70% of the city, while Swisscom will take responsibility for the remaining 30% of households and lay the necessary cables between neighbourhood cabinets and telephone exchanges. The two partners’ existing cable ducts will be used to keep the total cost of the investment to ma minimum. Both partners have granted each other long-term usage rights for the fibre-optic network.