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Optical/IP

Liberty Global's helloFiber gets going in Germany

Liberty Networks Germany, a 50/50 fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) JV of Liberty Global Ventures and InfraVia Capital, has unveiled a new brand and introduced a mix of initial service packages as the unit gets ready to start buildouts in a part of Brandenburg.

Under the helloFiber brand, Liberty Networks Germany is seeking out areas to deploy FTTP networks. That will plan is starting off with constriction of an area-wide FTTP network in Petershagen-Eggersdorf, Brandenburg, a buildout set to cover more than 7,000 homes and businesses and take about two years to complete.

Even babies are flippin' over fiber

The home page of the muni-focused helloFiber touts a message of fiber for the community.  
(Image source: Screencap from www.hellofiber.de)

The home page of the muni-focused helloFiber touts a message of fiber for the community.
(Image source: Screencap from www.hellofiber.de)

The new brand and details of that initial deployment arrive more than a month after the public introduction of Liberty Networks Germany, a unit that will assess opportunities for FTTP networks in greenfield areas of Germany. The general idea is to take a "modular approach" by targeting a relatively small number of underserved German municipalities in phase one, and possibly open to more investment and deployments based on the success of that initial work.

"The aim is to quickly create opportunities for individual fiber connections as a reliable partner for municipalities," Robert Dunn, managing director, connectivity investments at Liberty Global, said in a statement.

The JV formed a couple years after Liberty Global exited the German market in 2019 after selling off its assets in the country, along with its operations in Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, to Vodafone.

The JV in Germany is a "new opportunity" for Liberty Global, Charles Bracken, Liberty Global's EVP and CFO, said last month. "We definitely feel that we have a lot of scale, a lot of efficiencies from our core network builds across Europe, which make us a more attractive and a lower-cost builder of fiber in Germany than perhaps a standalone start."

Germany "has little to no fiber, and our objective is to look for areas where there's essentially no competition," added Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries. "So, it's a very targeted … small initiative to begin with, and we'll see how it unfolds."

Initial packaging and pricing

Time will tell how broad of a net Liberty Networks Germany will cast, but the JV did unveil several service packages led by broadband, including some price breaks during the first six months of service.

By tier, here's a snapshot of those options.

  • Fliegen: €24.99 ($28.25) for 1 Gbit/s down by 500 Mbit/s up for the first six months, then the price rises to €89.99 ($101.73). Customers can boost the upstream to 1 Gbit/s for an extra €9.99 ($11.29) per month.
  • Sprinten: €24.99 ($28.25) per month for 600 Mbit/s down by 300 Mbit/s up for the first six months, then €79.99 ($90.42). An upstream upgrade to 600 Mbit/s runs an extra €9.99 ($11.29).
  • Rennen: €29.99 ($28.25) per month for 400 Mbit/s down by 200 Mbit/s up for the first six months, then goes to €49.99 ($56.55). The package also includes two phone lines with up to three phone numbers. Boosting the upload to 400 Mbit/s costs and extra €4.99 ($5.64).
  • Starten: €24.99 per month for 300 Mbit/s down by 150 Mbit/s up for the first six months, then €44.99 ($50.89) thereafter, and comes with two phone lines. Upgrading the upstream speed to 300 Mbit/s costs €4.99 ($5.64) extra.
  • Flitzen: This €89.99 per month (for the first 12 months) package includes broadband speeds of 1 Gbit/s down and 500 Mbit/s up, two phone lines and a flat-rate mobile service. Moving to symmetrical 1-Gig costs €9.99 ($11.29) extra.

Depending on the package, customers can add a flat-rate mobile service for an extra €14.99 per month ($16.96). helloFiber's site also promotes Waipu.TV, a video streaming service featuring more than 150 channels, including about 125 in HD.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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