Berne, 22 December 2010
Energie Wasser Bern (ewb) and Swisscom are to extend the city of Berne's fibre-optic network into households. The two partners have signed a cooperation agreement to this effect and are working together to push ahead with the expansion. Ninety per cent of buildings in the city will have access by 2017. Swisscom will bear 60 per cent and Energie Wasser Bern 40 per cent of the investments needed for constructing the network.
By signing the cooperation agreement, Swisscom and Energie Wasser Bern have committed themselves to work together to construct Berne's fibre-optic network. Both companies will be responsible for laying the cables. Swisscom will connect 30 per cent of households to the network and will also be responsible for laying the fibre-optic cables between the neighbourhood cabinets and the telephone exchanges. Energie Wasser Bern will build the fibre-optic network for 70 per cent of the city. Both companies will make a substantial contribution to the investments required. Constructing the network will cost CHF 172 million, of which Energie Wasser Bern will bear 40 per cent and Swisscom 60 per cent. Both partners have granted each other long-term usage rights for the fibre-optic network.
Four fibres will be laid per household. Swisscom and Energie Wasser Bern will receive one fibre each for their sole use. The others will be assigned as required or made available to other companies prepared to invest in them. Laying several fibres per household allows open access to the network. Since the network offers non-discriminatory access, fibre-optic network suppliers who do not want to invest in the development work themselves will also be able to use it. This promotes competition in the telecommunications market and minimises the risk of a fibre-optic monopoly, which will benefit customers. Energie Wasser Bern and Swisscom are therefore acting in accordance with the fibre-optic principles agreed at the round-table talks led by the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) in early October 2009.
The existing cable ducts of both Energie Wasser Bern and Swisscom will be used for the Berne fibre-optic network. This will optimise the costs of building and operating the network and keep the total cost of the investment low. Residents of the Länggasse area can already choose from the products offered by the various providers. It is expected that by the end of 2011, more than a third of Berne's residents will be able to use the new services. By 2017, 90 per cent of properties will have a fibre-optic connection, and by 2020, the network will cover the entire city of Berne.