New Flemish company Fiberklaar invests 2.5 billion euros in Flanders for the expansion of open fiber network
- New Flemish company Fiberklaar wants to provide 1.5 million Flemish homes with optical fiber technology until 2028
- The Flemish optical fiber network is open to all operators
- Fiberklaar receives green light from European competition authority
- The main shareholders are the Swedish company EQT Infrastructure and Proximus. More than 2.5 billion euros will be invested, for both technical rollout and operational costs
- Rik Missault (formerly of Alcatel, Enfinity, Matexi, ION) to become CEO
Ghent, March 25, 2021 – Fiberklaar, the brand-new Flemish company that yesterday received the green light from the European competition authority, has the ambition to provide 1.5 million Flemish homes with fiber optic technology over the next 7 years. This open network will be accessible to all service providers who want to offer their services (internet, digital TV, cloud services, gaming, VR, streaming, telephony, etc.) to Flemish users. “Fiber to the Home” (FTTH) technology is revolutionary because it allows super-fast and stable unlimited data traffic in both directions. “It is our mission to make Flanders ‘fiber-ready’ in 7 years and thus catch up with other European countries,” says CEO Rik Missault.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic, Flemish households have seen their internet consumption rise sharply due to the (often simultaneous) use of video calls, streaming services such as Netflix, gaming and cloud applications. Unlike today’s networks, such as copper or cable, which have downstream and especially upstream bandwidth limitations, a fiber optic network allows virtually unlimited stable data traffic in both directions. This is not only crucial today, but with new applications in mind, fiber is truly future proof.
The new company Fiberklaar, which yesterday received the green light from the European competition authority, is investing 2.5 billion euros to provide 1.5 million Flemish households with fiber by 2028. The rollout will be prioritized with the municipalities where consumer demand is greatest. The company’s ambition is to start as early as this year in about a dozen Flemish cities and towns, three of which will be announced in April. Prior to the construction of the network, Fiberklaar will organize local campaigns to give residents the opportunity to subscribe to the service providers’ offerings. Those who sign up at this stage will not have to pay a fee for the fiber connection.
According to the FTTH Council, Belgium is lagging far behind in terms of fiber compared to other European countries. “Countries like Spain, Sweden and Portugal, for example, have a fiber coverage of about 80%. In Belgium this is barely 8%. It is our ambition to catch up to offer the inhabitants of Flanders digital freedom with the fastest possible access to fiber and lightning fast internet,” says CEO Rik Missault.
As experienced fiber network builders, Proximus and Sweden’s EQT Infrastructure are the main shareholders of Fiberklaar and are committed to this Flemish project for the long term.
The Flemish fiber network is open to all operators under the same conditions. Users will be able to choose their own service provider that best suits them for services such as internet, digital TV, cloud services, gaming, VR, streaming and telephony. From day 1, Proximus will already offer its services, others will follow.