February 2, 2024
Digi Belgium equips 10,000 houses in Brussels with fiber optic cables. The new telecom operator in our country speaks of a ‘promising test’.
Digi Belgium, an alliance of the Romanian Digi Communications with the telecom subsidiary Citymesh of the IT group Cegeka, is not wasting any time. Last autumn, Jeroen Degadt, the newly appointed general manager of the new telecom operator, talked in De Tijd about the ambition to become active on the fixed network, with fast fiber optic connections, in addition to mobile telephony. This also included a test involving the installation of fiber optic cables. However, details about this were lacking.
Barely a few months later, this test appears to be in full swing in the Brussels municipalities of Anderlecht and Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. According to Degadt, Digi is providing 10,000 homes there with fiber optic. This is mainly done by applying fiberglass to the facades. ‘The idea is to dig as little as possible, although at some point you do have to dig your cables into the ground.’
The test is mainly intended to determine how quickly the installation of fiber optic connections takes place in Belgium and how much it costs. ‘We also want to look at the regulations and the attitude of local authorities. After the test we can make a comparison with the other countries where Digi is active,” says Degadt. The telecom and media group has activities in Romania, Spain and Italy and will normally start in Portugal this year. She has a lot of fiber optic experience.
According to Degadt, it is still too early to draw conclusions from the test. He does say that the test yards so far are ‘hopeful and promising’. At the same time, he admits that the selection criteria for the neighborhoods are ideal conditions: densely populated neighborhoods, many house facades and local authorities that welcome the investment. If the final conclusion is positive, there may be an expansion of the company’s own fiber optic network.
The residents of the connected homes can also become customers later this year. They have plenty of choice: Digi Belgium is the third fiber optic player, especially in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Proximus has already passed there and Wyre (Telenet and Fluvius) is working on it, according to a resident who recently received a letter from Digi Belgium in the mail. Orange Belgium will then again carry out tests in Ixelles and Liège.
Degadt reiterates that Digi Belgium remains open to collaboration with other operators. ‘If we decide to do more with fiber than the test, doing more with others is certainly an option for us.’