EU Commission gives go-ahead for Telenet's fibre-optic network in Flanders
The European Commission has given broadband provider Telenet and grid operator Fluvius the go-ahead to jointly roll out a new high-speed fibre-optic internet network in Flanders. The Commission sees no competition concerns.
The plans have existed since October 2021, when the companies concluded a letter of intent. It took until July 2022 for a binding agreement to be finalised. Only now have they received approval from competition authorities to launch their joint venture. Telenet initially hoped to start as early as the beginning of 2023 but had to delay the launch of the project to this summer.
The Belgian Competition Authority halted its investigation in April after Telenet and Fluvius submitted a package of measures to counter the risk of conflicts of interest in the network rollout. The European Commission "took note" of those measures.
Proceedings by Proximus
Fluvius is owned by the Flemish municipalities, which play an important role in authorisation procedures and coordination of works for a network rollout. They play the same role for Proximus, Telenet's largest competitor. Meanwhile, Proximus also launched proceedings before the Council of State, Belgium's supreme administrative court, against Telenet and Fluvius. The Commission's go-ahead means these proceedings will not prevent Telenet and Fluvius from starting.
The companies' goal is to provide fibre-optic internet to 78 per cent of Flanders by 2038, which involves an investment of 2 billion euros. Proximus has been rolling out fibre for some time and is targeting 95 per cent coverage across Belgium by 2032.
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