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OTE starts €3bn project to deliver fibre to 3m Greek homes

Tim Hoettges at Greek meeting.jpg

OTE, the Greek incumbent largely controlled by Deutsche Telekom, is planning to spend €3 billion over the next five years delivering fibre to three million households.

The company has presented its plans to Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and other members of the government, in a briefing in Athens led by Tim Höttges (pictured), CEO of Deutsche Telekom, which owns 45% of OTE.

Mitsotakis said: “The Deutsche Telekom board’s decision constitutes a vote of confidence in the country. It is a vote of confidence in your excellent local team and OTE group. I also believe that it is a vote of confidence in our policies that boost digitalisation at a much faster pace, so that we are pioneers and not laggards on a European level.”

OTE said it will cover almost two-thirds of Greece’s lines with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), compared with today’s total of almost 560,000.

The group said its planned investments “will significantly contribute to the success of the Greek Digital Transformation Bible 2020-2025 and the National Broadband Plan 2021-2027”.

The company said it will “upgrade, free of charge” the fixed broadband speeds that its customers enjoy, though it added the rider, “subject to technical eligibility”.

OTE needs approval from the Greek telecoms regulator, Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT), but if that happens the free speed upgrade should start in the first quarter of 2022 “and gradually be completed within the year”.

Mitsotakis, who was elected in 2019, said: “After the pandemic, many people have concluded that Greece is a great place to work from. To make Greece even more attractive, we need good connectivity, with the biggest possible population coverage, at the best possible prices, for us to be competitive in that sector. I think that your decision truly helps us towards that direction.”

Dominique Leroy, Deutsche Telekom’s board member for Europe, said: “By investing in FTTH, we invest in Greece’s and Europe’s future. State-of-the-art networks are a prerequisite for businesses to grow, for attracting investments, creating new jobs and radically changing everyday life.”

She said that FTTH “is indispensable for every country that aims for digital growth and increased competitiveness on an international level” and said: “With a game-changing initiative, we realise the biggest investment in network infrastructure of the last decades in Greece empowering the country for the digital era.”

Michael Tsamaz, chairman and CEO of OTE, said: “We respond to the actual needs of the state, the society and the market, by deploying today the network that will foster growth for the next decades and by upgrading free of charge our customers’ fixed speeds.”

He noted that “the rapid development of our FTTH network is a big challenge, a complex project of enormous importance for the country”.