Proximus launches "Fiber for Hasselt"

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In the coming years, the City of Hasselt (the entire city center and some surrounding districts) will gradually be served by fiber and a large number of businesses and households in Hasselt will obtain access to the fixed network of the future. Today the city of Hasselt already has more than 100 businesses which are connected to Proximus' fiber. With the launch of the ‘Fiber for Hasselt’ project, Proximus is currently the first Belgian operator to also bring fiber into existing homes.

Proximus brings fiber to 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.

That’s why Proximus, which has been a pioneer in fiber for years, launched the "Fiber for Belgium" investment plan in December 2016 to accelerate the roll-out of fiber in Belgium and reach more than 85% of businesses and more than 50% of households.

Fiber is the ultimate broadband network of the future, for both residential and business customers. Fiber allows all members of a family to surf the Net, stream and game at the same time, without any latency or loss of quality. They also enjoy the sharpest picture on all 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, is it 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 Hasselt: 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 Hasselt'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'll give all of them the opportunity to get connected to fiber, without installation costs, even if they’re not yet Proximus customers.

A new phase in the digital shift in Hasselt

Firstly, the roll-out of fiber will offer Hasselt 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 Hasselt. The roll-out of fiber and the connection of thousands of sensors and devices will improve mobility, public safety and air quality in Hasselt. In the future, fiber networks will become an essential part of every city’s infrastructure, just like water or electricity.

We, the city council, are happy to welcome any partner that wants to help develop Hasselt into a smart city.  For decades now, Hasselt has been a pioneering city in terms of technology - take, for example, the development of the cassette and the CD that took place here - and we don't want to give up that role in the future. This project of Proximus fully fits in with this ambition. Not only will Hasselt become a living laboratory for the development of new digital applications, but our economy will also be given a boost through this. Businesses which for technical reasons are now compelled to group their employees in a main office somewhere in Flanders will be able to let small teams work from Hasselt thanks to this fiber connection. We not only stimulate job creation with this, we also help to reduce the number of cars jamming up the roads. Finally, this project brings greater user comfort for our residents. But the opportunities for the future are endless.

Dominique Leroy, CEO of Proximus:

"I'm delighted to launch our fiber investment plan here in Hasselt. Fiber stands for a technological revolution. The exceptional capacity of fiber will help the city of Hasselt to realize its greatest ambitions in terms of digital services for its residents and businesses. With "Fiber for Hasselt", Proximus wants to help the city develop its digital infrastructure of the future. I also wish to thank the city council for the smooth collaboration in the recent past: this has enabled us to radically increase the VDSL coverage by installing 40 ROPs in the city center. Thanks to this investment we were able to dismantle and sell the technical building located in the Paardsdemerstraat 10."

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. Meanwhile, Proximus has started to roll out fiber in existing buildings. 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.

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

To begin with, 21 major new-build projects and developments are planned, which will all be equipped with fiber.  The past weeks have seen the start of the roll-out of Fiber-To-The-Home & Business in the city center.  In 2018 and the following few years, the entire city center (+ some surrounding districts) will be gradually provided with fiber. Local citizens will be extensively informed of the roll-out and advantages of fiber through a communication plan tailored to Hasselt's residents, with, among other things, a 0800 number, information in the shops and local info sessions.

Currently, more than 100 businesses in Hasselt already use Proximus' fiber. By end-2018, fiber will reach more than 500 Hasselt businesses. Proximus is proactively contacting each business individually to see which fiber solution best fits its specific needs.


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