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Carriers Form FTTH JV

10:00 AM -- Sonaecom and Vodafone Portugal are forming a new company to build out and share fiber access networks in Portugal's main urban markets.

The two operators, which will jointly own the new venture, say the networks could also be used by other operators. Most of Portugal's fixed broadband players signed up to a fiber access network sharing agreement about a year ago, though Vodafone Portugal did not participate at that point. (See Portugal 'Gets' FTTH.)

The move fits into Sonaecom's broadband plans to keep its rollout costs as low as possible. The operator announced plans to build an FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) network in February 2008 and recently stated that it is on course to pass 200,000 homes by the end of 2009. (See Sonaecom Plans $350M FTTH Build.)

Sonaecom stated during its recent third-quarter earnings presentation that it is pursuing a "capital light" FTTH strategy and noted today that the formation of the joint venture "improves the economic rationale for investments in NGNs [next-generation networks]."

Vodafone Portugal, meanwhile, needs all the help it can get in the fixed broadband market, where it is trying to attract customers with a triple-play offer in a highly competitive market. (See Vodafone Launches IPTV in Portugal.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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