St. Gallen / Berne, 13 October 2010
The joint signing of the agreement by the city of St. Gallen and Swisscom underlines the practicality from an economic, business and technical point of view of working in partnership to construct a municipal fibre-optic network. The two partners have been coordinating the expansion of the St. Gallen fibre-optic network together since September 2009. Cooperation during the last 12 months has gone extremely well, with both partners achieving their common goals. St. Gallen Public Utilities are responsible for expanding, laying and maintaining the fibre-optic network, while the city of St. Gallen owns the access network. The contract will guarantee Swisscom long-term access to up to two fibres per business and household. In return, Swisscom will assume around 60 per cent of the required investment costs as well as the maintenance and operating costs. By foregoing construction of a proprietary fibre-optic infrastructure, Swisscom is respecting the wishes of the St. Gallen electorate. The joint approach will optimise construction and operating costs and avoid the laying of parallel networks.
The model being implemented in St. Gallen is the multi-fibre model that was agreed at the roundtable talks with the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom). The first houses in the residential district of Vogelherd were connected in March of this year, and over 2,000 apartments and businesses in the city of St. Gallen are scheduled to be connected to the network by the end of 2010. St. Gallen Public Utilities aim to have 80 per cent of the city's businesses and households equipped with a fibre-optic connection by the end of 2014, with full coverage scheduled to be completed by 2019.
The first residential and business customers are already using the new fibre-optic connection to access services such as telephony, ultra-fast Internet and television in HD quality. Six other telecoms providers besides Swisscom are competing to offer their services in St. Gallen. Affordable and non-discriminatory network access is also guaranteed for providers who are either unable or unwilling to invest in their own fibres. The joint approach being pursued by the city of St. Gallen and Swisscom will serve to safeguard competition and eliminate the need for the fibre-optic network to be regulated.