Rome -- The chairmen and CEOs of the leading European full fiber wholesale-only and open access operators, namely new member CityFibre (UK), as well as existing participants Deutsche Glasfaser (Germany), Open Fiber (Italy), Gagnaveita Reykjavikur (Iceland) and SIRO (Ireland), met in Rome in the presence of Johannes Gungl, chair of BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and Erzsebet Fitori, director general of FTTH Council Europe to discuss the future of the telecommunications market and explore opportunities to accelerate the deployment and take-up of full fiber infrastructure across Europe.
Wholesale-only operators are fiber network specialists that, in the absence of a retail arm, invest solely in new, high-speed open access fiber networks for the benefit of all service providers. This proven business model now witnesses significant growth in Europe, especially for the deployment of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and fiber-to-the-building (FTTB). Millions of homes and business are set to benefit from the rollouts of transformational full-fiber networks, delivering significant economic benefits for the European digital sector.
The new European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) encourages wholesale-only operators by using a specific, light regulatory regime as they deliver access to multiple telecom service providers without discrimination or abuses. For this reason, the wholesale-only model is the ideal vehicle for the rollout of very high capacity networks as envisaged by the Code, as well as a facilitator of innovative services such as Internet of Things (IOT) and 5G.
Given the high costs of constructing new FTTH / FTTB networks, the wholesale only model is the best approach to achieve large-scale, full fiber infrastructure rollout as it aggregates demand from many service providers that benefit from high-capacity, future-proof connectivity. Depending on the market conditions, independent open access operators can facilitate the same goal.
"The companies gathering in Rome have agreed to create an alliance to share best-practices and to promote the benefits and advantages of the full fiber wholesale-only [model], which delivers full fiber infrastructure far more efficiently than vertically integrated incumbent operators," said Elisabetta Ripa, CEO of Open Fiber, in thepress release.
The alliance will promote fiber benefits to governments, regulators and financial investors, as well ensure awareness of these independent fiber networks to service providers and mobile operators. The alliance also believes it has a role in educating and informing the European consumer about what genuine very high capacity networks are and challenges the misuse of the word "Fiber" in marketing broadband services delivered on legacy copper-based networks.
Said Sean Atkinson, CEO of SIRO: "The EU Digital Agenda is ambitious, and we believe that the new generation of non-incumbent 100% fiber companies are best placed to help achieve its goals. We are delighted to be part of this new alliance and look forward to presenting a united voice on the importance of FTTH and FTTB is crucial at this important moment for European connectivity."
"Wholesale only has been at the heart of CityFibre's strategy from day one. We are leading the rollout of full fiber infrastructure across the UK, deploying modern digital infrastructure to millions of homes and businesses, empowering all service providers, mobile operators and digital innovators," added Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre. "It is the new generation of fiber infrastructure operators that are building FTTH faster, quicker and cheaper than incumbent legacy operators, and CityFibre welcomes collaboration with our alliance partners across Europe."
The alliance will help member companies spread the word, said Uwe Nickl, CEO of Deutsche Glasfer.
"Sharing best practices to speed up deployment and take-up of pure FTTH networks is a crucial factor in achieving the European fiber goals," Nickl said. "Together we can really move."
And, added Erling Freyr Guomundsson, CEO of Reykjavik Fiber Network (Gagnaveita Reykjavikur): "This new alliance will strengthen Reykjavik Fiber Network in its mission, driving better consumer experience for our customers and our wholesale allies' customers. We are certain that the wholesale open access business model can drive competition and increase the quality of connections. Iceland is one of the fastest country in the world according to Speedtest.net Global Index, thanks to our one gigabit network that reaches 95% of our customers."
FTTH Council Europe
Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)