Vodafone Group and Altice announced today (17 October) the setting up of a new joint venture (JV), dubbed ‘FibreCo’, which will be tasked with building out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to up to seven million German homes over a six-year period. In a press release, the UK company noted that its German subsidiary already provides peak 1Gbps connections to over 24 million households in the country, and that the Altice JV will be complementary to its existing HFC upgrade plans. ‘This includes bringing fibre connections closer to all connected homes through ‘node splitting’ and DOCSIS 3.1 ‘high split’, which enables download speeds of over 3Gbps. These upgrade plans, coupled with next generation technology advances, such as DOCSIS 4.0, provide a path to 10Gbps speeds across our hybrid fibre cable network over time,’ it confirmed in the release.
In brief, the core components of the pair’s plans for the new unit include:
• FibreCo will be owned 50% by Vodafone Germany and 50% by Altice
• FibreCo will construct and operate a FTTH broadband network available to up to seven million homes (the rollout)
• approximately 80% of the rollout will be focused around large housing associations in Vodafone’s existing HFC network footprint which are interested in FTTH upgrades
• the remaining 20% of the rollout will be outside of Vodafone’s current footprint, focusing on neighbouring homes
• FibreCo will offer wholesale access to other service providers
• FibreCo has contracted Geodesia (a subsidiary of Altice) for the majority of rollout construction and maintenance.
The creation of FibreCo is expected to be completed in H1 2023.
Nick Read, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, commented: ‘This partnership builds on Vodafone’s significant next generation network with Altice’s industrial expertise and proven FTTH construction capabilities enabling us to bring gigabit connectivity to even more customers in Germany. We are proud of our long-standing relationships with housing associations and pleased as a trusted provider to bring more connectivity options for tenants. This significant infrastructure investment supports the country’s social, economic and digital development and the broadband ambitions of the German government as part of Europe’s Digital Decade targets.’
As part of the transaction, Vodafone is expected to receive cash proceeds from Altice of up to EUR1.2 billion (USD1.2 billion). Furthermore, over the six-year period FibreCo intends to invest up to EUR7 billion, ‘of which 70% is expected to be financed by debt that will be non-recourse to Vodafone and Altice’.
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