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ACM: the roll-out of fiber-optic differs between rural areas and urban areas

17-09-2019

By now, most of the rural areas in the Netherlands have access to fiber-optic. The roll-out in urban areas, on the other hand, is progressing at a slower pace. These are some of the messages that Annemarie Sipkes conveyed at the Metro Connect Europe conference, where she explained the current state of affairs of the Dutch fiber-optic market. Ms. Sipkes is the Director of the Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).

Over the past few years, relatively little fiber-optic has been rolled out in the Netherlands. Recently, interest in the roll-out of fiber-optic for households in the Netherlands has increased. This is primarily because of increased willingness among investors to make capital available for the fiber-optic roll-out. As a result thereof, multiple providers have entered the market. ACM sees added value in the roll-out of fiber-optic networks, alongside the existing copper and cable networks, because it stimulates innovation, and it allows the industry to meet the increased demand for bandwidth in the long term as well.

Rural and urban areas

Most of the rural areas in the Netherlands currently have access to fiber-optic. The market has functioned properly for these areas. The playing field now shifts to urban areas. In urban areas, the roll-out does not seem to progress as quickly as planned. ACM has received reports about problems experienced in connection with the roll-out in urban areas. If these reports are correct, chances are that infrastructure investors, who, over the past few years, were the ones that were behind the expansion of the fiber-optic roll-out in the Netherlands, will no longer invest in the future.

Market study

ACM wishes to gain more insight into how telecom businesses and investors determine where to roll out fiber-optic and what problems they encounter in this process. Therefore, ACM launched an exploratory study into the roll-out of fiber-optic in the Netherlands. In the context of that study, conversations were held with telecom businesses, investors, and municipalities. The results of this market study and the recommendations following from that study will be published this fall.