Swiss telco Swisscom promises to connect 14,000 homes in the south east of the country to fiber in the next year, after penning its 12th deal with a utility company to share deployment costs.
The operator plans to deploy fiber to the home in Bellinzona and surrounding areas in a 47 million Swiss franc ($51.5 million) project that combines current construction work by Swisscom and local utility firm Aziende Municipalizzate di Bellinzona (AMB). The telco will foot 60% of the rollout cost, and cover 10,000 addresses in the city, while AMB focuses on the outlying areas.
A Swisscom statement notes the partnership results in lower deployment costs, and prevents the companies laying parallel networks. AMB began deploying fiber in the region in 2010, while Swisscom started expanding its network in September 2011. Existing fiber customers – the telco has 500 currently – will be migrated to the new network.
The fiber partnership is Swisscom’s latest with a utility company, adding to previous deals covering the cities of Basel, Berne, Lucerne, Geneva, St Gallen and Zurich.
Ovum analysts predict an increase in telco-utility partnerships in the coming years, as the need to deploy smart meters makes such tie-ups more attractive to utility companies. However the research firm expects the market to be a slow burner, rather than an overnight success.