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New Vodafone-Altice JV to offer wholesale FTTH in Germany

Nick Read Vodafone .jpg

Vodafone and Altice have set up a new company to upgrade up to 7 million cable homes in Germany and to offer wholesale fibre connections to all-comers.

Under the deal FibreCo, as the joint venture is called, will replace old technology in the network originally built by Kabel Deutschland with full fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.

Vodafone acquired Kabel Deutschland for €7.7 million in 2013 after a bidding war with Liberty Global.

Now Vodafone says it operates “a leading next generation broadband network in Germany”, offering up to 1Gbps connections to over 24 million homes.

But the old Kabel Deutschland is still built to obsolete hybrid fibre cable (HFC) standards.

Vodafone group CEO Nick Read (pictured), commented: “This partnership builds on Vodafone’s significant next generation network with Altice’s industrial expertise and proven FTTH construction capabilities enabling us to bring gigabit connectivity to even more customers in Germany.”

FibreCo will bring fibre connections closer to all connected homes through node splitting and with DOCSIS 3.1 technology, 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 our hybrid fibre cable network over time.

Six years ago Altice, which had acquired the Optimum and Suddenlink brands, announced plans to upgrade those US cable networks to 10Gbps.

Vodafone announced this morning that it and Altice will each have a 50% share in FibreCo, which will construct and operate a FTTH broadband network available to up to 7 million homes.

About 80% of the roll-out will be focused around large housing associations in Vodafone’s existing HFC network footprint which are interested in FTTH upgrades, though the other 20% will be surrounding homes around those HFC areas.

FibreCo confirmed that it will offer wholesale access to all telecommunications service providers, “to fully exploit the potential of the infrastructure”, with Vodafone as the anchor tenant.

FibreCo – which sounds as though it is a temporary name – will be in existence by the first half of 2023, said the companies.

An Altice construction subsidiary, Geodesia, will build the network. David Drahi, co-CEO of Altice who is also a quantum scientist, said: “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.”

He is the son of Patrick Drahi, chairman of Altice, which he took private in 2020, and is also the biggest shareholder in BT, with 18%.