Belgian operator Telenet Group agreed to form a fixed infrastructure joint venture with utility company Fluvius, confirming an earlier plan to combine the pair’s existing hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) and fibre network assets in a separate NetCo and deploy fresh connections in the Flanders region of the nation.

Telenet stated it will hold a 66.8 per cent stake in the NetCo, with Flanders-based Fluvius owning the remaining 33.2 per cent. The operator indicated the venture is also open to other interested parties.

The newly-formed NetCo will operate an open access network and provide wholesale access to Telenet and other operators. The aim is to build an FTTH network which will eventually cover 78 per cent of Flanders by 2038.

At the same time, the HFC network will be upgraded with DOCSIS technology in areas where FTTH will not be deployed.

The partners also noted the NetCo will include Telenet’s footprint in part of Brussels and Wallonia. The venture is scheduled to start operations in 2023 and is expected to invest up to €2 billion over the next eight years.

Around 170 Telenet employees will move to the new NetCo, while a further 50 people will be recruited.

Telenet CEO John Porter stated the partners “have a clear roadmap to offer all our customers speeds of up to 10Gb/s”, using a mixture of HFC and fibre technologies.

The operator recently agreed to sell its mobile towers business to DigitalBridge Investments for €745 million. At the time, it indicated it would use some of the proceeds to invest in 5G-friendly spectrum and fibre network deployments.