In the coming years, the city of Aalst (the entire city centre and some surrounding districts) will gradually be served by fibre and a large number of businesses and households in Aalst will obtain access to the fixed network of the future. Today, 400 business sites in the city of Aalst are already connected or eligible to Proximus’ fibre. With the launch of the ‘Fiber for Aalst’ project, Proximus is currently the first Belgian operator to also bring fibre into existing homes.
In the coming years, data traffic and digital services will continue to grow exponentially, mainly driven by video and cloud applications and by the Internet of Things (IoT). As a pioneer in network technologies, Proximus wants to anticipate the needs of its customers and prepare its infrastructure for the future.
To that end, in 2016, Proximus, a pioneer in fibre for many years, launched the ‘Fiber for Belgium’ investment plan to rollout fibre to most businesses and city centres in Belgium.
Fibre is the ultimate broadband network of the future, for both residential and business customers. With optical fibre, every member of a household can browse the Internet, watch streamed content and engage in online gaming at the same time, with no latency or loss in quality. They’ll also benefit from the sharpest of images on all their screens. Moreover, fibre is the ideal solution for business customers: besides enabling more efficient collaboration, fibre offers greater reliability and better data protection.
From a financial and operational viewpoint, it is certainly a wise choice to combine the deployment of fibre for businesses with the rollout into existing homes in urban areas with a high population density. This is indeed what Proximus will do in Aalst: it will rollout fibre for residential and business customers simultaneously.
Firstly, the roll-out of fibre will offer Aalst residents and businesses a major asset: access to the most advanced digital services, which will benefit growth and employment in the city and the region. This fixed network of the future also opens up a world of new opportunities for the further digitisation of the city of Aalst. The rollout of fibre and the connection of thousands of sensors and devices will improve mobility, public safety and air quality in Aalst. In the future, fibre networks will become an essential part of every city’s infrastructure, just like water or electricity.
As for the timing, the rollout will take place in various phases, always in consultation with the city.
Currently, more than 4,000 business sites in East Flanders are connected or eligible to Proximus fibre, 400 of which are in Aalst. Proximus is proactively contacting each business individually to see which fibre solution best fits its specific needs.
The plan is for 84 large new-build projects and developments to be equipped with optical fibre. By the end of 2020, the entire inner city (postal code 9300) will be gradually provided with fibre. That equates to more than 15,000 homes, 45,000 residents, or half of the population. In a later phase, it will be the sub municipalities’ turn to receive fibre.
The impact of the works will be limited to a minimum. Before the works start, Proximus will carry out an analysis to optimise the rollout and will opt as much as possible for wall mounting instead of underground installation, especially in built-up areas. This means only a limited number of streets and pavements need to be dug up and the rollout will go much faster.
Proximus will communicate openly and transparently with all residents and businesses in the areas where fibre will be deployed. Local residents will be extensively informed of the rollout and advantages of fibre through a communication plan tailored to them, with, among other things, an 0800 number, information in the shops and local info sessions.