BUSINESS

Vodafone, Wind to build fiber-optic network

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

TAGS: Technology, Business

Greek telecommunication companies Vodafone and Wind on Monday announced their agreement to cooperate in planning and operating next-generation networks (NGNs), aiming to put pressure on the government, as well as dominant market player OTE telecom, which is heading in another direction.

This cooperation using fiber-optic networks, an upgrade also known as next-generation access (NGA), offers extremely high-speed data transmission exceeding 100 million bits per second (Mbps), an area in which the country is seriously lagging its European peers.

The European Commission has set a target for the European Union to shift to the gigabit society by 2020, with data traveling at super-high speed as the minimum rate would amount to 30 Mbps. At least half of the broadband connections will then have to have a speed topping 100 Mbps, based on fiber optics. Figures compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that in June 2015 only 0.2 percent of connections in Greece used fiber optics, with an average speed of 100 Mbps.

Vodafone and Wind issued statements yesterday saying they will cooperate for Greece to achieve that target. They have signed a memorandum of understanding and have announced investment plans of 1 billion euros, mainly concerning NGNs in landline telephony.

Their move aims to counter OTE’s plans for the development of very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) networks, which has extended OTE’s dominance as its rivals are forced to resell its services based partly on conventional metal cables. Wind and Vodafone also expect to utilize government funds of 400 million euros destined for NGNs.

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