Belgian full-service provider Proximus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the federal government of the German-speaking Community and insurance group Ethias to bring fibre access to more than 36,000 homes and businesses in the east of the country by 2026, including in most rural areas. The plan will be realised through the first Belgian public-private partnership in the field of fibre deployment. This partnership, which has yet to be finalised, will bring together Proximus and Ethias, each of which will hold approximately 50% of the shares. Proximus will initially be a minority shareholder with the option of eventually taking a majority stake, while the government of the German-speaking Community will hold a share in order to ensure the public interest of the project.
Announcing the partnership, Guillaume Boutin said: ‘I am really excited to be part of the first Belgian public-private partnership in the field of optical fibre. This kind of partnership is an excellent way to facilitate the extension of fibre in rural areas. This unprecedented agreement with Ethias and the Government of the German-speaking Community is perfectly in line with Proximus’ strategy to extend access to fibre to all citizens and businesses in Belgium.’
Proximus launched its ‘Fibre for Belgium’ investment plan five years ago with the ultimate goal of covering at least 70% of the population by 2028. The company reported 909,000 homes and businesses in 50 towns and cities were already connected to fibre at the end of March 2022.