Vodafone, Altice create a fibre-to-the-home joint venture in Germany

A 50/50 joint venture partnership aims to build on operator’s next-generation network with broadband firm’s industrial expertise and proven fibre-to-the-home construction capabilities, enabling gigabit connectivity to customers in Germany

Looking to offer up to seven million homes in Germany fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity over a six-month period, Vodafone Group and Altice have announced that they are creating a joint venture in the country known as FibreCo, which will offer wholesale access to all telecommunications service providers to fully exploit the potential of the gigabit infrastructure.

Owned 50% by Vodafone Germany and 50% by Altice, FibreCo is expected to complete its creation in the first half of 2023 and the two owners say it will benefit from Vodafone’s commercial expertise and relationships with housing associations and Altice’s FTTH roll-out, wholesale and operational expertise.

Indeed, approximately 80% of the roll-out will be focused on large housing associations in Vodafone’s existing hybrid fibre cable network footprint which are interested in FTTH upgrades. The remaining 20% will be outside of Vodafone’s current footprint, focusing on neighbouring homes.

FibreCo has contracted Altice subsidiary Geodesia for the majority of the roll-out construction and maintenance. Vodafone already operates a next-generation broadband network in Germany, currently offering up to 1Gbps connections to over 24 million homes. The partnership with Altice is said to be complementary to its upgrade plans for its existing hybrid fibre cable network. This includes bringing fibre connections closer to all connected homes through node splitting and DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specifications) 3.1 high split, which enables download speeds of over 3Gbps. These upgrade plans, coupled with next-generation technology advances, such as DOCSIS 4.0, provide a path to 10Gbps speeds across the hybrid fibre cable network over time.

In practice, FibreCo will offer wholesale access to all telecommunications service providers in Germany, with Vodafone Germany acting as the anchor tenant, entering into an agreement with FibreCo on closing the transaction. Within FibreCo’s footprint, Vodafone Germany has committed to market FibreCo’s network to new customers exclusively, while Vodafone Germany’s existing network will continue to service customers who do not wish to migrate to FTTH. Vodafone Germany is not providing FibreCo with any minimum revenue or volume commitment.

“This partnership builds on Vodafone’s significant next-generation network, with Altice’s industrial expertise and proven fibre-to-the-home construction capabilities enabling us to bring gigabit connectivity to even more customers in Germany,” said Vodafone Group chief executive Nick Read.

“We are proud of our long-standing relationships with housing associations and pleased as a trusted provider to bring more connectivity options for tenants. This significant infrastructure investment supports the country’s social, economic and digital development, and the broadband ambitions of the German government as part of Europe’s Digital Decade targets,” added Read.

“We are delighted and honoured to join forces with Vodafone to build and operate a FTTH network connecting up to seven million premises in Germany,” said Altice co-CEO David Drahi. “Altice’s existing presence in Germany through Geodesia, its unique track record in operating over 45 million homes with the latest very-high-speed fibre networks across Europe and the US, together with Vodafone’s competitive position as anchor tenant, will help us establish one of the largest FTTH ventures in Europe. We have pioneered fibre joint ventures in France and Portugal and are thus thrilled to be able to replicate such a feat in Germany with such a partner.”

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