Proximus reveals plans for rollout of open fiber in West Flanders

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Proximus has presented its plans for the rollout of its open fiber network in the southern part of West Flanders. In addition to giving an update on the rollout in Kortrijk, which started in 2019, CTO Geert Standaert also presented the plans for the cities of Harelbeke, Izegem, Menen, Waregem and Ypres as well as the municipality of Wevelgem.

Over the next two years Proximus will provide over 65,000 homes and businesses in these municipalities with a fiber connection. The ambition is to further expand the footprint thereafter and reach at least 80% coverage in the cities and municipalities concerned by 2028.

Fiber, an unparalleled technology

Fiber is the ultimate broadband technology of the future, responding to the exponential increase in data traffic for both residential and professional customers. Offering unparalleled speeds and an outstanding experience, it opens the way to new ways of living and working.

With fiber, all members of a household can (tele)work, surf, stream videos and play online games at the same time, without delays or loss of quality. They can each count on an excellent, secure, stable, and reliable customer experience, thanks to a network with virtually unlimited capacity that offers extensive bandwidths. Fiber is a great asset for companies, enabling them to fully exploit all the possibilities of digitization and to remain competitive, agile and innovative.

This ultra-fast technology stimulates the adoption of new ways of working and supports the explosion of advanced technological developments in the areas of artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality, data analytics and the Internet of Things. Fiber is also environmentally friendly, more energy- efficient and has a longer lifespan than any other fixed Internet technology.

The choice of location for the press gathering is therefore far from coincidental. Howest University of Applied Sciences is a forerunner in the higher education landscape in the field of technology and digitalization. By strategically anticipating the evolving needs of the field and by consciously giving a future-oriented interpretation to its educational offering, it has built a broad expertise in various technological domains, from digital transformation over data analytics to cyber security. Each of these domains has great potential to help shape our future society through innovation. On top of that, each of these domains largely depends on strong networks, turning the rollout of fiber into a game changer.

An ambitious rollout of fiber in Belgium

Today, Proximus is already present with its fiber technology on almost every street corner. The next challenge is to close the last few meters into the home or company with fiber.

End 2016, Proximus therefore announced the “Fiber for Belgium” investment plan, with the aim of rolling out fiber to the majority of businesses and city centers in Belgium. In 2020, the project was significantly accelerated and expanded, supported by the creation of the joint ventures Fiberklaar in Flanders and Unifiber in Wallonia. The envisaged coverage ratio was increased, with the ultimate aim of reaching at least 70% of the Belgian population by 2028. By the end of 2021, 813,000 homes and businesses across 35 Belgian cities and municipalities were already connected to fiber.

In the coming years, the southern part of West Flanders will also gradually be supplied with fiber. In Kortrijk, the rollout already kicked off in 2019, and recently the construction works in Harelbeke and the preparatory works in Waregem have started. More than 10,000 homes and businesses were already connected to the fiber network, primarily in Kortrijk. In Menen and Izegem too, works will start before the end of the year. The first connections in Ypres and Wevelgem will follow in 2023.

By the end of 2023, more than 65,000 homes and businesses in these municipalities should be supplied with a fiber connection. However, the ambition remains to gradually expand the coverage thereafter and reach a coverage rate of more than 80% in the cities and municipalities by 2028.

A clear and transparent information campaign

Proximus is committed to open and transparent communication with all residents and businesses in the areas where fiber is rolled out. The residents will be extensively informed about the rollout and the advantages of fiber by means of mailings and local information sessions, thanks to the mobile information point that regularly drives around in the areas, or via the webpage, on which specific information on the progress of the works can be found.

For additional questions, they can contact a toll-free 0800 number, use a specific e-mail address or call into the local Proximus shop. In addition, Proximus is proactively contacting each business individually to see which fiber solution best fits their specific needs.

“Throughout the past two years, we have witnessed how much both consumers and enterprises need reliable and fast connectivity with low latency. Connectivity has become a basic need. To continue to meet the expectations of our customers, we are building the best open gigabit network in Belgium. A huge investment, crucial for the growth of our economy and for our digital society as a whole. We are therefore very pleased that, over the next few years, we will be able to introduce many inhabitants of West Flanders to the benefits of fiber,” said, Geert Standaert, Chief Technology Officer, Proximus.