18/06/21 10:01

Corporate news

Orange Belgium will roll-out open passive “fiber-to-the-premise” pilots in Brussels

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Orange Belgium invests in the deployment of 'fiber-to-the-premise' (or “FTTP”) pilots in Brussels. Orange Belgium will start the rollout in Evere and Ixelles, where 15.000 residents and businesses will have the opportunity to benefit from an open and future-proof optical fiber network enabling multi-gigabits speeds. Orange Belgium will benefit from the Orange Group high skills and experience to provide a next generation open fiber network which will be accessible at passive level to any interested telecom service operator to connect and rely on their own active network equipment. Orange Belgium intends to leverage synergies with local assets and partners to contribute to the Region’s economic and digital ambitions.

Orange Belgium, based on Orange’s experience and undisputed technological and commercial leadership in terms of fiber at European level, has chosen to deploy this network based on a fully open model granting to any interested telecom service operator a passive access to the infrastructure. This model is the only capable to guarantee the principles of non-discrimination and independency allowing any operator to offer differentiated offers to their customers. Such a model has been successfully implemented in other countries and allows an acceleration of the investments and lower prices for the end users, as several telecom service operators share the same passive fiber infrastructure.

A high technology, tailor-made solution with unlimited speed potential

An open model also stimulates competition and innovation as each operator, at its own pace, has the ability to rely on its own active network equipment, which gives it the possibility to offer different standards (GPON 2.5 Gbps, XS-GPON 10 Gbps, P2P 1/10/100/100Gbps Ethernet today, and any future standards such as HS-PON 50Gbps etc…), quality of service, customer’s equipment as well as differentiated pricing for the best of customer satisfaction.

This fiber infrastructure will be rolled-out and operated by Orange Belgium thanks also to Orange Innovation Labs’ expertise to build future-proof networks optimized by using AI and network automation. It is opened to any interested telecom service operator at fair and reasonable conditions. Telecom service operators can either connect their own active equipment to the open network or they can rely on those of other operators such as the one of Orange Belgium.

A highly sustainable and future-proof model

A “Fiber-To-The-Premise” network allows an optimal experience for residents and businesses with multi-gigabit symmetrical speed and bandwidth, paving the way for future applications. From current cohabitants worker/students video conferencing needs, to Ultra HD video streaming or the booming virtual/augmented reality and cloud-based services: the scope of applications is massive and instrumental to the economic development of the region. This innovative model also reduces the burden to citizens caused by the rolling out, as one operation directly allows the customers to choose between several different providers, and is globally more energy-efficient. Orange Belgium will closely work with local stakeholders to leverage as much as possible pre-existing infrastructures.

With the Brussels’ pilot, Orange Belgium intends to answer to the call of the Brussels-Capital Region, which is willing to monetize the Region's fiber assets. Orange Belgium will demonstrate the relevance and environmental and urbanistic efficiency of a single open passive fiber network deployment shared with all service operators, performed in collaboration with the local authorities and local stakeholders contributing to the region's economic and digital development.

While this deployment project only focuses on Evere and Ixelles in a first phase, Orange Belgium could extend it later to other municipalities such as Schaerbeek.

Xavier Pichon, CEO Orange Belgium, comments: “To reach our convergent and fixed connectivity ambitions, Orange Belgium is relying on the Orange Group extensive fiber deployment experience (more than 49 million connections at European level) to launch this open passive fiber network pilot. This will allow telecom operators, to bring differentiated offers and services to the market at fair conditions. This initiative will nurture innovation and a balanced competition to the benefits of the customers and contribute to the economic development of Belgium’s Regions”.

Ridouane Chahid, Mayor of Evere: “We are delighted to see Orange Belgium making a concrete investment in the deployment of fiber in our municipality. In addition to the fact that this project will improve the connectivity of our citizens with a technology ready for the future, we are very pleased with the openness of their model and collaboration with the authorities and other local stakeholders. This is excellent news for our ambition to make Evere a connected, smart and attractive municipality, both for the people of Evere and for the business world.”

Christos Doulkeridis, Mayor of Ixelles: “Optic fiber is clearly a technology of the future, and a lever for the technological and economic development of our municipality. It is therefore excellent news that Orange Belgium has decided to invest in this local deployment, especially since the open and collaborative approach that the operator is defending will make it possible to limit the environmental impact of the deployment and will generate savings in terms of network energy consumption. This perfectly fits the way we, in Ixelles, imagine technological progress: reasoned, collaborative and sustainable.”

Bernard Clerfayt, Minister for Employment, Digital Transition and Local Authorities: “I want to transform the Brussels Region into a modern and connected city, so I am delighted that Orange Belgium is also interested in fiber optics. We are already very demanding when it comes to data transmission. And fiber is the best option in this business. By enabling citizens and the business world to benefit from a stable and high-performance technology, we are resolutely opting, together, to make of Brussels a smart city.”