Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BPN 1441 Dutch pension funds in FttH

Three Dutch pension funds (ABP, PGGM and PvVervoer) have set up the Communications Infrastructure Fund (CIF) in which they have invested some €1 billion. The purpose of the fund is to develop, over the next ten years or so, a national fibre network through a range of mergers and acquisitions of existing networks as well as new builds and network expansion commitments. This network will be made available to all players including the incumbent KPN and the principal cableco UPC and Ziggo.

CIF also aims to invest in antennae to be used by mobile network operators for their mobile broadband offers based on HSPA+ and LTE technologies. The move is astute, given recent developments in both the fixed-line and mobile markets.

A report from the Task Force Next Generation Networks to the government in mid-2010 recommended that 90% of Dutch homes and businesses have access to NGN broadband services by 2020. The report covered proposals for rolling out faster networks, and assessed ways by which average download speeds could be increased to between 75Mb/s and 400Mb/s by 2020, compared to 5Mb/s to 14 Mb/s currently.

Mobile broadband will have a more substantial role to play in pushing high-end data services to rural areas: the April 2010 auction for licences in the 2.6GHz band saw four licences awarded to the joint venture between Ziggo and UPC, Ziggo 4 (set up in December 2009 to deploy and run telecom and broadcast networks). This will allow the cablecos, which together have near national geographic coverage, to complement their existing bundled services (based on fixed-line access) with mobile voice and broadband offers.

KPN’s HSPA network is currently being upgraded to provide up to 21.6Mb/s, while Vodafone in July 2010 doubled download speeds on its HSPA network to 28.8Mb/s in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. Tele2 NL in the same month announced plans to trial LTE in Diemen and Amsterdam (Tele2 also received four licences in the 2.6GHz frequency auction). All of these players would be able to make use of CIFs fibre-based mobile antennae as backhaul.

A main consideration for CIF is to provide a healthy return on investment for its clients. Real estate and most stocks have proved very volatile since late 2008, and there remain few safe havens for investors. The final cost of the project may reach up to €10 billion.

For more info see: Budde Blog

BTW In June the fibre connection was brought to the cupbord of our Almere apartment. But there is still no live connection. All this FttH effort has been going on in our neighbourhood since 2009.

BPN 1441

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