What’s up with.... Deutsche Telekom, TIM, CityFibre

  • Deutsche Telekom lands FTTP investment partner – report
  • TIM set to agree new deal to merge its FiberCop unit with Open Fiber
  • CityFibre hits milestone

A dramatic day for Europe’s fixed broadband sector as reports emerge of investments deals for the national operators in Germany and Italy, just as BT decides to go it alone on FTTP and CityFibre hits a milestone.

Just as BT announced it is no longer seeking an investment partner for its fibre access network rollout plans, Deutsche Telekom is, according to Reuters, believed to have struck a €6.9 billion joint FTTP funding deal with IFM Investors, an Australian infrastructure investment firm that is owned by 23 pension funds. Reuters had previously reported in June that DT was seeking co-investment partners for a broadband infrastructure upgrade. 

Meanwhile, in Italy, TIM (Telecom Italia) CEO Luigi Gubitosi appears to be ready to offload the national operator’s access unit FiberCop into an independent jointly-owned company in order to seal a merger deal with wholesale fibre operator Open Fiber. The initial agreement had been to merge FiberCop with Open Fiberto create a new national wholesale fibre access network operator called AccessCo, in which TIM would have held a 50.1% stake. But neither the Italian government nor European regulators were happy with that plan, and now, according to Bloomberg, Gubitosi appears to be ready to agree a new deal whereby TIM would hold a minority stake in AccessCo. 

Only a few years ago, some high-ranking executives in the UK broadband sector suggested that CityFibre would be a light that burned bright and then quickly faded... Instead, the wholesale fibre access network builder that had the temerity and cojones to go head-to-head with BT’s quasi-autonomous access network unit Openreach has burned brighter by the year, attracted significant investors and support from multiple ISPs, and helped enormously in opening up the UK’s fibre broadband sector to what can only be the benefit of the country and its economy. And now it has reached the milestone of having more than 1 million UK homes able to access broadband services from more than 30 ISPs that use its fibre infrastructure: The operator also says it’s on course to have its network pass 8 million homes by 2025 as the result of a £4 billion investment program. Like every company, CityFibre has had its ups and downs, and has its strong points and weaknesses, but above all it is a shining example of how a single company can help to transform a whole sector through its focus and determination. Let’s hope there are more CityFibres in this industry’s future. In the meantime, you can read some thoughts from the company’s CEO, Greg Mesch, in this blog, and check out the operator’s announcement about its 1 million milestone in this press release.

In the US, after years of trying, Boeing has finally bene given the green light by the regulator, the FCC, to build a satellite constellation that can provide broadband services, something that Starlink is already doing, OneWeb is about to do and Amazon’s Kuiper is set to do soon.  Boeing plans to provide broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and professional users in the US and globally. “Advanced satellite broadband services have an important role to play in connecting hard-to-serve communities,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in the statement granting approval to Boeing. That’s all very well, but what does this mean for space clutter? (See Space: The Crowded Frontier - where accidents are waiting to happen.)

Only a couple of weeks after Verizon boasted a “strong third quarter,” the giant US operator has laid off staff in its Verizon Business and Global Technology Solutions Group units, reports CRN

- The staff, TelecomTV

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