World premiere in Antwerp: Proximus and Nokia deploy the industry’s first 25 Gbps connection on a live network, the fastest fiber network on earth

Today, during a press conference in the Antwerp Port House, Proximus and Nokia have turned on the world's fastest fiber network, deploying the very first live network based on Nokia's "25G PON" technology. Developed in Antwerp, this technological breakthrough shows the virtually unlimited capacity of fiber and positions Proximus and Nokia as global technology leaders, setting the direction for operators and equipment manufacturers around the globe.

Fiber networks, the foundation of our future digital society

Passive optical networks (PON) are widely deployed today to deliver internet connectivity to consumers and businesses using fiber-optic technology. Most of these deployments are based on Gigabit PON (GPON) technology, while 10 Gigabit PON (also known as XGS-PON) is gradually emerging. 25 Gigabit PON is the latest generation of PON technology, boosting both download and upload speeds on fiber networks to unprecedented levels, around 200 times faster than the most advanced broadband networks 10 years ago.

Yet today’s first live activation of a 25G PON network is not only big news for technology geeks worldwide. As shifting consumption patterns and innovative digital services trigger an explosion of the demand for bandwidth, fiber networks are a driving force for today’s economy. Fiber is the unrivalled future-proof fixed network technology, combining virtually unlimited capacity with an ability to deliver massive broadband speeds in the most energy-efficient way possible. The world premiere presented by Proximus and Nokia today thus marks an important step in making networks ever more performant in terms of speed, capacity and latency, and therefore able to fuel the transition to a truly digital society.

A network that will last for generations, driven by continuous innovation of two technological frontrunners

25G PON technology shows the virtually unlimited capacity of fiber, of which only a fraction is exploited today. It is the product of a long-standing partnership between Proximus and Nokia, a historical collaboration of around 20 years built on trust and a continuous drive to innovate. This extensive common trajectory of co-development and innovation has turned Proximus and Nokia into global trendsetters in Fixed Access Networks.

At the same time, the event puts Antwerp at the heart of worldwide technological innovation. The headquarters of Fixed Access Nokia, based in Antwerp, played a key role in the development of broadband technology, with the design of game-changing DSL solutions as well as the Quillion chipset on which the core capabilities of next-generation fiber networks such as 25G PON are relying.

Further pushing the boundaries of technology will be essential to enable the emergence of new innovative services. While Proximus is the first operator worldwide to show 25Gbps capabilities on a live network, the capacity and performance will continue to increase in the future, with symmetrical speeds (25 Gbps for both download and upload) within reach as of 2022. As a result, Proximus’ fiber network is ready to integrate any new service in the decade to come, with the ability to house several operators, in line with Proximus’ ambition to deploy open networks accessible for all.

Proximus’ ambition for Antwerp: fully cover the city and its districts

Whereas Proximus continues to innovate to be at the forefront of technology, it also aims to bring the benefits of next-generation networks to as many Belgians as possible. Last year, Proximus announced a significant expansion and acceleration of its open fiber network roll-out, partnering with EQT Infrastructure in Flanders (through the joint venture Fiberklaar) and Eurofiber in Wallonia (subject to the approval of the competent authorities). While already 533,000 homes and businesses have fiber technology at their doorstep today, the ambition is to connect 4.2 million homes and businesses to fiber by 2028. This represents a coverage of 70% of the Belgian population. At its cruising speed, Proximus will cover 10% of the country per year with fiber.

In Antwerp, Proximus started deploying fiber back in 2017, when the first inhabitants of certain areas in Deurne were connected to the new network. Today, with over 80,000 homes and businesses passed, around one out of four citizens, can already be connected to the ultimate fixed network. A significant acceleration of the roll-out will take place between 2021 and 2023, aiming to fully cover the city and its districts . This is done in close consultation with the local authorities to ensure the works are carried out in the most efficient way possible. Proximus ensures clear and transparent communication towards local residents, by means of letters, local information sessions, a mobile info point as well as a dedicated phone number and web page.

foto van iemand die gequote wordt

The activation of the first 25G PON network worldwide shapes our bold ambition to be a trendsetter, to become a reference operator in Europe and, why not, across the globe. Together with Nokia, we have achieved a technological leap forward that will become a key enabler of the digital economy and society that we stand for. Today’s announcement is also an occasion to stand still and look at the pace at which we connect the citizens of Antwerp to the technology of the future. Thanks to huge investments, we are realizing an acceleration that is unseen in Europe, and I am convinced this will be crucial to remain competitive for us as a company, but also for Antwerp as a city and for our entire economy.

10 years ago our companies launched the technology which enabled a switch to HD TV. Today we make history again with a network that is 200x faster. We are proud to support Proximus in enabling the world’s first 25G PON network, powered by Nokia’s Quillion chipset, which supports three generations of PON technologies. Quillion has been adopted by more than 100 operators since its launch last year and all operators deploying the Quillion based GPON and XGS-PON solution today have the capabilities to easily evolve to 25G PON.

This ultra-performant and high-speed network will be determinative for the way we use data in the future, comparable to the Oosterweel infrastructure project for our mobility. Antwerp is not only a global port and an engine of prosperity, it is also the reference city for the Internet of Things. This will have a big impact on the growth of data traffic in the coming years. The digital highways we are building today are preparing us for the needs of tomorrow, which is not just good news for technology enthusiasts, but also for our economy and therefore our prosperity and general well-being. The cooperation between Proximus and Nokia is therefore excellent news for Antwerp.

During this crisis we are all working and studying more than ever from home. Never before has the need for fast internet been so great and the lack of it such a problem for certain people. A good, reliable infrastructure for high-speed internet is not only the explicit ambition of this federal government, it is also what Europe rightly expects of us and what we will need more than ever in the coming years, as our online activities will only become more important. Innovation is needed to prepare our society, our government, our companies and our schools for a digital transition. This must help us to tackle the challenges of our time in a sustainable way and at the same time ensure that no one is left behind, for example by eliminating the 'white zones' in Belgium where fast internet is not yet available or not available enough. This is something that I will be working on explicitly with the sector in the coming years.


Social media