Broadcaster Modern Times Group (MTG) has agreed to acquire 80% of Swedish Open Access telecoms network provider Zitius Service Delivery from Quadracom for an undisclosed sum, with an option to acquire the remaining 20% in 2016, reports Broadband TV News. Zitius is reportedly Sweden’s largest independent Open Access communications provider, with a fibre network connecting approximately 150,000 households, roughly a third (around 50,000) of which subscribe to a service via the Zitius network. Open Access networks pass approximately 750,000 Swedish households, typically in multi-dwelling apartment buildings, allowing end-users to sign up to internet, TV, telephony and other services offered by multiple service providers which hold agreements with the Open Access network provider. Zitius, established in 2003, has built a fibre network in ten cities via partnerships with local councils and real estate firms, and provides network management and service packaging services, while installing, owning and operating active network equipment including routers and switches, but typically does not operate the equipment on consumer premises. Zitius also utilises a fibre infrastructure access agreement with TDC to provide coverage in various areas, while a minority of buildings are connected by xDSL rather than direct fibre.
MTG’s CEO, Hans-Holger Albrecht, said that the purchase of Zitius is in line with the group’s strategy of marketing its Viasat TV channels and Viaplay over-the-top (OTT) online TV service through as many platforms as possible (currently including satellite and third-party IPTV networks). He added, ‘Our intention is to strengthen Zitius’ market leading position even further, and to continue providing attractive offerings to customers from multiple suppliers in an open environment.’ Around 20 service providers currently market their broadband, TV and telephony products over Zitius’ networks, with Viasat already amongst the existing choices available to end-users.