Belgian cable operator Telenet has unveiled plans to invest €500 million (US$830 million) over the next five years in a massive network upgrade that will enable it to offer broadband services of 1 Gbit/s or even faster.
The operator, which offers fixed and mobile services to more than 2 million customers (including about 1 million triple-play customers) in the Flanders region of Belgium, says that starting next month (September) until late 2019 it will rip and replace all of its 150,000 amplifiers, and either replace or adapt a further 1.8 million network components (such as splitters).
The end result will be a DOCSIS 3.1-powered network with transmission bandwidth of 1GHz, compared with 600MHz currently. That increase in bandwidth will enable Telenet to increase its broadband service speed from the current (impressive) 160 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s for every customer, a move that the operator believes will put it at the "top [of] the list of regions with the best digital infrastructure in Europe," and able to cater to the "future digital requirements of private users, the business community, government, education, the healthcare and security sector as well as other sectors of society."
The operator, which is running parallel projects to upgrade the home networking infrastructure of its customers and build out WiFi hotspots, says 250 jobs will be created as a result of the plans.
Why this matters
Telenet has figured that it needs to be bold and differentiate itself from rivals such as national incumbent telco Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG) if it's to have a long-term future as a service provider, and it knows that the cloud-based and interactive services that its enterprise and government customers will need, and the 4K video services that residential customers will expect, demand significant core and access capacity.
As part of the Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) empire (it holds a majority stake), this upgrade will be closely watched by other European cable players, particularly Liberty's other operations. It will also be something of a shop window for vendor Casa Systems Inc. , which has won a deal with the Belgian operator. (See this exclusive story, Telenet Chooses Casa for CCAP.)
And in broader terms, it's part of the growing trend towards 1Gbit/s broadband services.
Telenet is attempting to future-proof its network with an upgrade to 1GHz transmission: Expect others to follow.
For more on the Gigabit trend:
- GVTC Takes Gigabit to School
- Cincinnati Bell Preps for 1-Gig
- C-Spire, Adtran Team on Mississippi Gig Network
- Suddenlink Joins Gigabit Club
- Gigabit Is the New Black
- CenturyLink to Expand Gigabit Service to 16 Cities
- The Power of the Gig
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading