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Press release

Launch of the pilot project for the implementation of fibre-optics in the canton of Fribourg

Fribourg, 30 November 2009

Claude Lässer, Chairman of the State Council of the canton of Fribourg, Carsten Schloter, CEO of Swisscom, and Philippe Virdis, Chief Executive of Groupe E, this morning presented the launch of construction work on the pilot project for the implementation of fibre optics in the canton of Fribourg. The project is the first partnership of its kind between a canton, an electricity supplier and a telecoms company. It is based on an open, multi-fibre (open access) infrastructure which avoids a structural monopoly on the fibre-optic network. If the pilot project being conducted in the district of Torry in Fribourg and in part of the village of Neyruz (FR) renders positive results, the model could be gradually extended to the whole of the canton of Fribourg in order to achieve full coverage by 2025.

A fibre-optic network is necessary in Switzerland to continue to meet the growing bandwidth needs of both corporate and residential customers. By committing itself to an open and non-discriminatory model, which ensures full fibre-optic coverage across the whole of the canton of Fribourg, Groupe E and Swisscom are paving the way for infrastructure expansion which could be used as a model for the whole of Switzerland. This is why the canton of Fribourg was keen to lend its support to the project.


The Fribourg model

The new fibre-optic network will be constructed jointly in order to carry out the work as quickly and cost-effectively as possible by making use of the partners' existing underground infrastructure. The fibres will be sold to partners and other interested customers on a non-discriminatory basis. Every household or company will have a cable with four fibres. Swisscom will offer services to all of its residential, corporate and wholesale customers. Groupe E, for its part, will offer an information transport service to all interested service providers, which will allow them to distribute their services without having to invest in the infrastructure. The remaining fibres will be reserved for future requirements. Groupe E will also use the opportunity to provide every household with a fibre-optic cable which will allow the future provision of intelligent energy management services. By investing in the project, the canton of Fribourg aims to ensure blanket network coverage throughout the canton.


The pilot project

The first customers in the district of Torry in Fribourg will be able to take advantage of new fibre-optic services in February 2010 and all of the 2,600 households and 150 companies will be connected to the fibre-optic network by next summer. The interior cabling in households, from the basement to the individual household, will be taken care of by home owners, and in the majority of cases will be carried out using existing cable ducts. To access every building, fibre-optic cables will be laid in existing underground infrastructures. Where the ducts change direction, civil engineering work will need to be carried out.

Customers will be able to take advantage of services in the areas of fixed-line telephony, digital TV and ultra high-speed broadband Internet access. VTX and Swisscom will be the two main service providers.

In Neyruz the work is set to commence in January 2010 so that the 300 households in the neighbourhoods of Le Marchet and Les Colombettes should be connected to the fibre-optic network by the end of May 2010.

Historically, telecoms and power supply networks were constructed separately to avoid interference with voice transmission. With fibre-optic networks, telecoms cables and power cables can be laid in the same underground duct infrastructure, which simplifies the work required and allows significant cost savings.

After analysing the results of this pilot project, the three partners will make a final decision as to whether or not to roll out fibre optics across the whole of the canton of Fribourg. Groupe E also plans to offer fibre optics across the whole area covered by its electricity grids, in other words the canton of Neuchâtel and part of the canton of Vaud.


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern