The Spanish subsidiaries of European telecoms giants Vodafone Group and France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange) will invest up to EUR1 billion (USD1.3 billion) on the construction of a joint fibre-optic network. Under the terms of the agreement, Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana will each deploy street-level fibre in complementary geographies, and while the fibre will be owned independently it will share the same technical specifications to ensure compatibility as a single network, with each partner having guaranteed access to the whole infrastructure. Commercial services over the new infrastructure are expected to be introduced from January 2014, and some 800,000 premises are expected to be able to connect by March 2014, with that figure rising to three million and six million by September 2015 and 2017, respectively. In total, the fibre-optic network will cover 50 of Spain’s major cities when complete.
The companies say they will work with local regulators to ensure: sharing of vertical infrastructure at prices based on actual cost; effective access to fixed line incumbent Telefonica’s ducts to facilitate rapid mass deployment of horizontal infrastructure; and measures to obtain necessary administrative permits in a timely manner. It has also been confirmed that the agreement is open to third parties willing to co-invest.
Vodafone Chief Executive for the Southern Europe region, Paolo Bertoluzzo, noted: ‘This agreement demonstrates Vodafone’s commitment to provide high-speed unified communications services to our customers coupled with our willingness to invest when there are positive returns.’