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Dutch Hold Back on FTTH Frenzy

Ray Le Maistre

12:30 PM -- Following local reports that Dutch national operator KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) and its partner Reggefiber BV are planning a €6 billion to €7 billion ($7.7 billion to $9 billion) investment in a countrywide fiber access rollout, the incumbent telco has issued a statement to provide "further clarity on fiber-to-the-home."

KPN says it's clear now on the regulations surrounding such a rollout, and that it and Reggefiber are seeking regulatory approval for their "proposed joint venture for the rollout of FTTH networks" in The Netherlands.

However, KPN says that while it will continue with its own targeted FTTH investments in five cities for now, it "does not yet have the intention to roll out FTTH on a large scale in The Netherlands. KPN and Reggefiber will assess all plans based on timing and location, considering whether new investments can be justified commercially, and taking into account the regulatory framework... A commercial evaluation will be conducted in the first half of 2009."

If KPN and Reggefiber decide to push ahead with a "large-scale" fiber access rollout, it would be a major boost to the market's vendors, the Dutch economy, and Europe's FTTH supporters. The Netherlands has about 6.9 million households and, at the end of June this year, the country had 98,500 homes hooked up to a fiber access connection, giving the country a FTTH penetration rate of 1.43 percent, the eighth highest in Europe. (See Swedes Top Euro FTTH Ranking.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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