This contributes to counteracting digital exclusion
Orange Polska and APG – acting on behalf of its Dutch pension fund clients – have signed an agreement to create a joint venture that will operate a fibre network reaching around 2.4 million households in Poland by 2025, mainly in the areas which lack infrastructure today. The joint venture will operate under the name Światłowód Inwestycje, ‘Optical Fibre Investments’. This agreement contributes to making fast internet more accessible in Poland and counteracting digital exclusion.
The joint venture will be 50% owned by Orange Polska and 50% by APG. Orange will contribute around 0.7 million fibre connections to Światłowód Inwestycje, including wholesale access to around 160 thousand customers who already use its services. Światłowód Inwestycje will roll-out 1.7 million fibre connections meaning that the network will cover 2.4 million households and will become the largest independent wholesale fibre operator in Poland.
Julien Ducarroz, CEO of Orange Polska, said: “I am very pleased that we entered into a partnership with APG who shares our vision of the market potential of fibre infrastructure in Poland. Orange Polska has been conducting a very ambitious investment program during recent years, 5 million households across Poland are already within the reach of Orange Światłowód. The needs are still huge, and the pandemic has made them even stronger. Światłowód Inwestycje will help us cover the areas which still lack reliable internet access, without using the public funds. I am convinced that it will contribute to the development of the economy, digital infrastructure of the country and will fight digital exclusion.”
Poland is currently at the stage of development and creation of modern infrastructure, which is absolutely essential for increasing the competitiveness of the country's economy. By partnering with APG, Orange Polska will be able to continue the rollout of fibre and contribute to the development of modern technologies in Poland. The 1.7 million of fibre connections will be a significant increase to the estimated 7 million existing fibre lines in Poland. Patrick Kanters, Managing Director Global Real Assets at APG, said: “APG is excited to partner with Orange Polska to enable the roll-out of fibre connections to 1.7 million households in Poland. This joint venture supports APG’s ambition to enable the digitalization of the economy by providing high-speed fiber optic infrastructure to households that do not have high quality internet access today. Importantly, the investment is expected to deliver an attractive return for our pension fund clients.”
Światłowód Inwestycje will solely be a wholesale operator, meaning that Orange Polska and other third party operators will be able to access its network in order to offer retail services to their clients. Orange Polska, with its experience and technological background, will be the key technical partner providing network construction and maintenance, lease of network elements network, as well as other support services.
“The agreement confirms that Orange Polska is the leader in innovative, business approach to fibre network rollout - Maciej Nowohoński, Orange Polska management board member in charge of carriers market stated. – “Światłowód Inwestycje is a new business model, based not only on strong demand for fast internet in Poland, but above all on unique expertise and experience of Orange Polska in developing fibre infrastructure and providing fibre services. This is a project that will bring benefits for all - customers, operators and the entire telco market in Poland – he added.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of August 2021. Proceeds from the transaction will significantly strengthen Orange Polska balance sheet and will be an important element of the new strategy that will be announced in 2Q 2021.