Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fiber wars in the Netherlands

The town of Heeze-Leende is now planning a cooperative-owned FTTH network, for fear that Reggefiber/KPN would skip farms and other rural locations. In other towns, things have gone rather more hostile:
  • Eersel: similar situation as in Heeze-Leende, except that Reggefiber has already begun assessing demand. Opponent is the Buurtcomite Glasvezel Eersel.
  • Vught: again, a similar situation. Reggefiber is in the process of assessing demand, while (owned by entrepreneur Jan Schuurmans) is starting to roll-out on its own.
  • Harderwijk: the local cable company, CAI Harderwijk, has stated that it will replace its network with FTTH, but not all too soon. It will be a very gradual process. In the meantime, CIF (Communication Infrastructure Fund, run by Bouwfonds with around EUR 1 billion from several pension funds) has apparently knocked on its door, but the city doesn't want to sell. Now CIF is threatening to start rolling out FTTH on its own.
In this order, these are increasingly aggressive tactics to bring fiber to a town. Harderwijk especially could turn into a bloody mess, because who could wish to duplicate a network?

Will Reggefiber give in and blanket entire municipalities, including rural areas? Will CAI Harderwijk give in and sell to CIF? Will CIF revert to buying other cable assets (such as Delta Kabel, Cogas Kabel, Rekam, etc.)? Will it be forced to shop abroad? Is the time getting ripe for coops to enter the market?

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