Telekom and EWE Form Glasfaser NordWest to Speed up Fiber Deployment


Deutsche Telekom and Energy and Telecommunications company, EWE sign an agreement that forms a new company called Glasfaser NordWest in order to speed up fiber optic deployment in Germany. The partners envision a joint investment of up to two billion euros that would deploy fiber optic cables to 1.5 million households and business locations.

Glasfaser NordWest is active in parts of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Bremen. The joint venture that establishes a new company represents the next step in the collaboration between two firms. The joint venture called “Glasfaser NordWest” means ‘NorthWest Optical Fiber’ in English.

Glasfaser NordWest aims to provide up to 1.5 million households and business locations with ultra-fast internet in parts of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Bremen. All customers will be offered fiber to the home (FTTH). An investment of up to two billion euros over an approximately ten-year period is also agreed between the two partners as an initial investment to support fiber to the home deployments.

EWE AG, the parent company of EWE Energy, is one of the largest energy companies in Germany. EWE Energy has around 1.4 million electric subscribers and about 1.5 million natural gas subscribers. EWE Energy is also a service provider in many areas. EWE operates in 3 fields – Energy, Telecommunication and Information Technologies. EWE combines the expert knowledge required for sustainable and smart energy systems of the future. In addition to having a strong position in the natural gas sector, EWE Group has been among the largest investors in the Turkish natural gas sector thanks to its investments made in recent years. Furthermore, the company operates in its own 150 power plants as one of the pioneers of sustainable and renewable energy in Germany.

Deutsche Telekom and EWE had already signed a non-binding declaration of intent in December 2017, signaling interest in the joint venture. The two companies plan to register the joint venture based in Oldenburg as soon as they receive approval from the cartel office.

The two partners will build the infrastructure through a competitive selection process, acting as general contractor. In the first two years after the joint venture is founded, Glasfaser NordWest will designate the expansion areas in advance. The two parent companies, Deutsche Telekom and EWE, will carry out the upgrades. After this period, Glasfaser NordWest will also offer the expansion areas for bidding by third parties through a selection process. Once the lines have been laid, EWE, Deutsche Telekom, and all other interested telcos will compete directly for the respective customers.

Fiber-optic lines will become available to the first customers in the expansion area in 2020.

Official Comments:
“No one invests as much in digital infrastructure as Deutsche Telekom,” says Dirk Wössner, Board of Management member responsible for Germany. “We’re Germany’s digitalization engine and we’re shifting into high gear. Glasfaser NordWest will capture enormous synergy effects because we will plan and build the fiber-optic infrastructure together. This means we’ll have greater capacity utilization in the operating phase. It also means we’ll be able to connect households that would have been uneconomical otherwise. The new joint venture is logical and a manifestation of our collaboration-based strategy. Ultimately, we are still convinced that we have to team up with other companies to digitalize Germany – and without any regulatory intervention. Our partnership shows FTTH expansion without regulation works. We’re boosting expansion and we’re willing to cooperate with competitors. We don’t need regulatory intervention.”

“We are thrilled with this important step in our partnership,” says Stefan Dohler, CEO of EWE. “In northwest Germany, EWE is known for fast internet and the digitalization of rural areas. We’ve already achieved a lot on our own, but we want to offer even more fast internet connections to as many people in our home region as possible. By teaming up with Deutsche Telekom, we can achieve this goal more quickly. Everyone in northwest Germany stands to gain from this joint venture. Glasfaser NordWest will build the infrastructure, creating the foundation for digitalization, and customers can then choose their provider. The services from the new infrastructure will be available to all interested telcos under the usual commercial terms.”

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