Deutsche Glasfaser aims at 250,000 glass fibre connections in Germany in 2015
Reggefiber started in 2006 with the installation of glass fibre cables in the Netherlands. Late last year, Reggeborgh decided to start in Germany as well. We spoke with Peter Kamphuis, board member of Deutsche Glasfaser and co-responsible for the installation in Germany.
Peter explains how Reggefiber proceeds in the Netherlands: “In the Netherlands, we work after having grouped the demand first. This means that in villages and towns we first set up a marketing and sales action, through which we ask the inhabitants to register for glass fibre. If more than 30% says yes to glass fibre, we start with the construction of the network. In 2008, this method resulted in more than 150,000 connections. At that moment, KPN became shareholder of Reggefiber. This enabled us to move forward with the installation in the Netherlands at an increased speed and by now we have already connected more than 1.3 million households to glass fibre.”
Looking at the opportunities outside the Netherlands, Peter tells about the plans in Germany: “At the end of 2011, we took the principal decision to start in Germany as well. The same team that had started with Reggefiber in the Netherlands, will now get cracking in Germany under the name Deutsche Glasfaser Holding. Deutsche Glasfaser is a 100% daughter company of Reggeborgh. The current projects already have a potential of more than 100,000 German households. In Germany, we bought the German service provider BORnet and here as well we follow a demand grouping trajectory. We’ve now made a start in 20 villages and towns and when 40% of the people will have registered, we will start with the actual installation works. By early 2015, we want to have 250,000 homes connected with at least 100,000 paying customers. That is quite an ambitious challenge.”
“We started with grouping the demand in the Netherlands and we are now translating this to the German market. The German market is different to the Dutch one. The local legislation is different, as is the competition. We’re now beginning to understand how the market works so that here as well we can speed things up. The introduction of glass fibre gets positive reactions. German consumers are on average about 7 years behind compared to the Netherlands. The average Dutch consumer has iPads at home, retrieves missed broadcasts, watches video on demand and is used to HD television. Germany isn’t quite so far yet,” explains Peter.
“These differences can, among others, be explained by the near-monopoly position of Deutsche Telekom, which controls about 87% of the broadband market. It has almost no competitors. The situation in the Netherlands is different. KPN faces serious competition from large cable installation companies such as Ziggo and UPC and in Germany people aren’t used to this. There are still many opportunities for offering innovative digital services. We can still learn a lot from Germany as far as the satellite market is concerned. Many people have satellite dishes and are used to a particular type of television packages. We, in the Netherlands, don’t know this because this market is almost non-existing here. We can learn a lot here about how to launch this product.”
“In Germany, we make use of the experience that we gathered in the Netherlands. We work with German main contractors and use the expertise from a number of Dutch suppliers. This way, we bring know-how and experience to Germany. This also applies to our cooperation with Attema. In the past, we from Reggefiber executed a number of innovation projects together with Attema. For instance, we worked together on developing the distribution sleeve. Now, we are cooperating with Attema for our German project. Here, we have ‘Mehr-Familien-Häuser’, buildings consisting of more than one family home, a type of dwelling that we in the Netherlands are not familiar with. Together with Attema, we are looking into solutions for a power point in the cellar of these homes. The project is still in a test phase, we are studying what works and what doesn’t. We make use of the expertise of our Dutch suppliers as our target is quite challenging. By early 2015, we want to have 250,000 homes connected with at least 100,000 paying customers. That is a lot but in the Netherlands Reggefiber is connecting 50,000 homes per month. We have every confidence that, together with the expertise and experience of our suppliers, we will be able to take on this challenge as well.”