Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Doubling up

Looks to me like Telecom Italia is already budgeting for the proceeds of the "unsolicited" bid/bids for TIM Brasil (this must be America Movil, given its balance sheet strength and Telefonica's outstanding issues with Vivo), judging from this article in Trouw, detailing TI subsidiary bbned's more aggressive plans for network deployment in the Dutch market. So far, bbned is the number four player in retail DSL in the Netherlands (number three adjusting for KPN's Tiscali acquisition), and is the network partner in the Amsterdam Glasvezelnet project (as well as a being both network partner and end-to-end service provider on other fiber deployments via its subsidiary Pilmo brand). What comes next, according to the bbned spokesman quoted in the article, is for bbned to expand its FTTH coverage where possible, and elsewhere to piggyback on KPN's fiber deployment to do VDSL collocated in KPN's street cabinets. The two have apparently already agreed on pricing for the "last hundred feet" of copper, as well as collocation space in street cabinets, and are reportedly now negotiating prices for KPN-provided fiber backhaul to interconnection points on bbned's backbone. This is an impressive level of commitment to what is, in contrast to TI's other extraterritorial broadband markets (France, Germany), a relatively small and concentrated market. It clearly raises the spectre of a second wholesale player in access, and will further pressurize the poorly performing Orange to either up its game or get out of town.

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