Sunday, February 15, 2009

BPN 1302 Glassfiber in The Netherlands comes slowly (1)

Glassfiber has been proclaimed as the knowledge promoter in The Netherlands and should be implemented with the assistance of the government and municipalities. In the meantime a mosaic of projects can be seen on the map of The Netherlands. Yet the uptake is meagre in the main cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

In the beginning of February the news broke that the municipality of Amsterdam had concluded an agreement with Reggefiber/KPN for 100.000 more glassfiber connections. It looks impressive, but is it?

After a long battle with UPC and the European Commission went ahead with the first phase of Glassfiber Net Amsterdam (GNA), in which the municipality of Amsterdam, the bank ING and KPN/Reggefiber and housing co operations partook. A first batch of 43.000 households would get access to glassfiber connections.

In the meantime glassfiber has laid to 43.000 households, of these only 8 to 9.000 households have glassfiber behind the front door. But only 3.000 households are active clients and have a subscription to the glassfiber and a package for telephone, television and internet. A representative for the network blamed the first strategy for the low uptake. The glassfiber was laid up to the front door and was only linked up when people took out a subscription. This strategy has now been changed. Glassfiber is now connected up to the front door and immediately packages are offered to the potential subscribers. Presently four providers offer packages: Concepts ICT, InterNLnet, Alice (BBned), Qfast and KPN.

Amsterdam started the discussion on glassfiber years ago and was advised to take the lead in laying a glassfiber network. The argument was that glassfiber was still too expensive for commercial parties and that the municipality had to be the leading party. Cable operator UPC disagreed with this discussion and fought the decision up to the European Commission. It did not see a level playing field for network operators. However the European Commission gave the municipality permission to take an equal share as the commercial partners in the glassfiber network project.

In the meantime the glassfiber scene has changed. The projects have become commercial projects as the costs have gone done dramatically. A connection to the household has come down to 800 euro. Did the project managers formerly put down the condition, that 40 percent of the household should participate, now in the new agreement of 100.000 connections Reggefiber/KPN does not request such a clause in the agreement. Now the glassfiber networks are offered with packages offering internet speeds of 60, 80 and 100 Mbps. In the meantime the cable operator UPC is offering speeds up to 120 Mbps over its own cable network.

Blog Posting Number: 1302


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