Salt, Sunrise partner for Swiss fibre broadband

Created May 20, 2020
News and Business

Sunrise and Salt have announced plans to create an FTTH platform for ultrafast broadband connectivity services on an open access basis across Switzerland. The roll-out will be realised through Swiss Open Fibre, a joint venture which will be established and co-owned by Salt and Sunrise with equal shareholding and a prospective equity partner.

Swiss Open Fibre aims to reach 1.5 million of homes passed in the coming 5-7 years, for a total investment of up to CHF3 billion, and will significantly support areas in Switzerland that are undersupplied with state-of-the-art broadband services as well as further promote digitalisation also in non-urban areas. While Salt and Sunrise will act as anchor tenants, the infrastructure network will be offered to all retail operators to enable them to provide their customers with ultrafast broadband connectivity services. Sunrise and Salt have already initiated discussions with potential equity partners and financing banks and foresee to sign respective agreements in the coming months. The new infrastructure will bring substantial environmental benefits through energy efficient network sharing and transition to fibre. This project follows a proven concept that is being successfully implemented in several European countries, including Germany, France and Italy. Network roll-out operations are expected to be initiated in the 4th quarter of 2020.

Marc Furrer, former president of the Federal Communications Commission ComCom, says, “In 2008 we initiated the round-table, with which we achieved FTTH-deployment to around one third of the Swiss population. Now we want that the rest of Switzerland can benefit from high-quality FTTH-products, which are essential for home-office, home-schooling and home entertainment. The planned Joint Venture will bring this high-speed connectivity to most of the remaining market while ensuring infrastructure competition. The investments of up to CHF 3 billion will also give an impulse to the Swiss economy.”

André Krause, CEO of Sunrise, says, “We are excited to embark on this Joint Venture which will accelerate ultrafast broadband connectivity and significantly improve fibre penetration in Switzerland relative to other European countries. This platform is open and transparent to the market and we are extremely happy to have secured Marc Furrer, the most distinguished expert in the domestic market, to chair Swiss Open Fibre.”

Pascal Grieder, CEO of Salt, explained, “This project is unique of its kind, leveraging the capabilities and reach of two strong Swiss operators to create a nationwide infrastructure. Growing importance of flexible and virtual working and learning models will continue to drive the need for high-performance broadband services across Swiss households, and our initiative will facilitate such services at attractive prices. We have an ambitious roll-out plan and encourage municipalities and utilities looking into FTTH deployment to reach out to us. We are open for business.”

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.