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Proximus launches “Fiber for Aalst”

In the coming years, the City of Aalst (the entire city center and some surrounding districts) will gradually be served by fiber and a large number of businesses and households in Aalst will obtain access to the fixed network of the future. Today 400 business sites in the city of Aalst are already connected or eligible to Proximus' fiber. With the launch of the "Fiber for Aalst" project, Proximus is currently the first Belgian operator to also bring fiber into existing homes.

Proximus brings fiber into homes and businesses

Why is fiber necessary? In the coming years, data traffic and digital services will continue to grow exponentially, mainly driven by video and cloud applications and by the Internet of Things. As a pioneer in network technologies, Proximus wants to anticipate the needs of its customers and prepare its infrastructure for the future.

To that end, in 2016, Proximus, a pioneer in fiber for many years, launched the "Fiber for Belgium” investment plan to roll out fiber to most businesses and city centers in Belgium.

Fiber is the ultimate broadband network of the future, for both residential and business customers. With optical fiber, every member of a household can browse the Internet, watch streamed content, and engage in online gaming at the same time, with no latency or loss in quality. They’ll also benefit from the sharpest of images on all their screens. Moreover, fiber is the ideal solution for business customers: besides enabling more efficient collaboration, fiber offers greater reliability and better data protection.

From a financial and operational viewpoint, it is certainly a wise choice to combine the deployment of fiber for businesses with the roll-out into existing homes in urban areas with a high population density. This is indeed what Proximus will do in Aalst: it will roll out fiber for residential and business customers simultaneously.

Fiber is the technology that will allow our customers to fully exploit the possibilities of the digital era and that will boost download and upload speeds in Belgium to an unprecedented level. In the coming months, residents living in Aalst's city center will be able to discover for themselves that fiber offers the ultimate broadband experience for surfing, streaming, gaming and working at the speed of light. We will give everyone the opportunity to connect to fiber, even those who are not yet Proximus customers.

A new phase in the digital shift in Aalst

Firstly, the roll-out of fiber will offer Aalst residents and businesses a major asset: access to the most advanced digital services, which will benefit growth and employment in the city and the region. This fixed network of the future also opens up a world of new opportunities for the further digitization of the city of Aalst. The roll-out of fiber and the connection of thousands of sensors and devices will improve mobility, public safety and air quality in Aalst. In the future, fiber networks will become an essential part of every city’s infrastructure, just like water or electricity.

As for the timing, the roll-out will take place in various phases, always in consultation with the city.

Currently, more than 4,000 business sites in East Flanders are connected or eligible to Proximus fiber, 400 of which are in Aalst. Proximus is proactively contacting each business individually to see which fiber solution best fits its specific needs.

The plan is for 84 large new-build projects and developments to be equipped with optical fiber. By the end of 2020, the entire inner city (postal code 9300) will be gradually provided with fiber. That equates to more than 15,000 homes, 45,000 residents, or half of the population. In a later phase, it will be the submunicipalities' turn to receive fiber.

Impact of the works

The impact of the works will be limited to a minimum. Before the works start, Proximus will carry out an analysis to optimize the roll-out and will opt as much as possible for wall mounting instead of underground installation, especially in built-up areas. This means only a limited number of streets and pavements need to be dug up, and the roll-out will go much faster.

A large-scale information campaign for the residents

Proximus will communicate openly and transparently with all residents and businesses in the areas where fiber will be deployed. Local residents will be extensively informed of the roll-out and advantages of fiber through a communication plan tailored to them, with, among other things, an 0800 number, information in the shops and local info sessions.

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