Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My house ate my telco

I have frequently observed that the Dutch incumbent KPN is in a tight spot at home, and one of the emerging pressures I have warned about is the development of municipal and housing corp-funded fiber networks. Well, things are looking considerably tougher for KPN today. It is my understanding that one proposed fiber project from housing company Portaal (http://www.portaal.nl/) has now been signed off, and digging is to begin in the next couple of weeks, followed by the first 500 customers being connected end of Q1 2005. In total the project is to encompass 55k homes in five municipalities (Utrecht 18k, Leiden 9k, Amersfoort 11k, Nijmegen 11k and Arnhem 6k). We are talking VoIP, TV/VoD, and 10Mbps symmetrical internet for EUR50 per month (including VAT). This in itself is fascinating, but what will be really interesting to see is whether any other housing companies now feel more encouraged to also head in this direction, and on what scale. Other housing corporations are already showing interest in the same model, albeit on a smaller scale. Depending on how this plays out, the implications for KPN (and the cablecos) could be apocalyptic.

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