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Press release

St. Gallen fibre-optic network - St. Gallen Public Utilities and Swisscom join forces

St. Gallen / Berne, 01 September 2009

Following six months of intensive negotiations, St. Gallen public utilities and Swisscom have agreed to collaborate on building a local fibre-optic network. The cooperation will considerably speed up the expansion. The high-speed network of the future should be ready to deliver new Internet and multimedia services to St. Gallen's residents in around five years, rather than ten as originally planned. Both partners agree that several fibre-optic cables should be laid per household. This approach will enable an open infrastructure ("open access") and effective competition, thereby avoiding a structural fibre-optic monopoly.

Work on expansion of the St. Gallen fibre-optic network kicks off in September 2009. Swisscom and the St. Gallen Public Utilities have agreed that the utilities will be responsible for the laying and maintenance of the fibre-optic cable. Swisscom will contribute substantially to the necessary investments and receive exclusive long-term access to up to two fibre-optic cables per household and business customer. Residential and business customers can use the Swisscom fibre-optic network for services such as telephony, Internet and TV. Swisscom will also provide a wholesale offering for alternative suppliers.

The fibre-optic cable is being laid as far as possible in existing cable ducts, so as to minimise the inconvenience of construction work for residents. Expansion is to begin in the Vogelherd development and will be extended to other areas of the city later on.

Objectives of the people's referendum implemented

With this collaboration between St. Gallen Public Utilities and Swisscom, the cantonal government considers the objectives of the people's referendum to be met in full. In January of this year, residents of St. Gallen voted by a clear majority in favour of expansion of the fibre-optic network by the local public utilities. It was decided to create a low-cost fibre-optic network with free access, which would ensure competition, deliver a wide range of services and consolidate St. Gallen's reputation as an innovative and progressive centre of education and business. The agreed cooperation will also prevent duplications and considerably shorten the anticipated construction time.

Customers profit from competition

The combination of the open-access model favoured by the St. Gallen Public Utilities with Swisscom's wholesale offers will promote competition, as all service providers are guaranteed discrimination-free and attractive access. Customers will be able choose from offers from various service providers and, if necessary, can switch to the relevant provider quickly and easily at the click of a mouse or by simply switching sockets. St. Gallen Public Utilities will observe the current Swiss and European standards when laying the fibre-optic cables and, where necessary, coordinate with the Federal Office of Communications (Bakom) and key Swiss providers.

Contact

Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern

media@swisscom.com