Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is Telecom Italia serious about the Netherlands after all?

FTTH Update

Planet Multimedia reports that bbned, the Dutch wholesale unbundling operator owned by Telecom Italia, has bought InterNLnet, an ISP affiliated to Nijmegen University. InterNLnet's portfolio is geared toward both ADSL and FTTH networks. The latter include networks owned by Portaal (housing corporation) and GNA (Amsterdam Citynet).

I sort of expected a move like this. If TI do not sell the unit (as was rumoured at some point), why not add a service provider business to the network operator and get the broadband strategy aligned across Europe (Italy, France, Germany)? Also, bbned is among the unbundlers who are working out the details of 'regulation 2.0' (SLU) in the Netherlands with KPN, and they are already conducting a VDSL trial - with InterNLnet and SURFnet.

Taking this speculation one step further, one could envison TI beefing up its bbned operation even more. The market is consolidating, but there are numerous opportunities left:
  • ISPs, such as SURFnet, mentioned above (if it would be up for sale)
  • Reggefiber (once Dick Wessels would be interested in selling out or swapping)
  • Orange NL's broadband unit (once France Telecom finalises the deal to sell the company to T-Mobile)

That would add not only ISP capabilities and subscribers, but the inevitable road to FTTH as well.

Finally, an overview of recent FTTH activity (click to enlarge):

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