Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital Close Down helloFiber Joint Venture in Germany

Liberty Global, the owner of Virgin Media, and InfraVia Capital have shut down their joint venture in Germany, helloFiber, which was launched in 2021. The project aimed to roll out fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks across Germany, but staff were made redundant prior to Christmas, resulting in the closure of the venture.

While the closure of a single FTTP provider in Germany may not be newsworthy in the UK, it is of interest to the British market because Liberty Global is planning to build a large FTTP network that would have Virgin Media as the anchor retailer and would also be available on a wholesale basis to other providers. The network is expected to eventually pass some 6 to 7 million premises outside the current Virgin Media DOCSIS 3.1 footprint.

Virgin Media plans to convert its existing DOCSIS 3.1 network to all FTTP by 2028 and already has some 1.3 to 1.5 million premises passed by FTTP from the Project Lightning rollout. The closure of helloFiber in Germany does not affect these plans, but it does highlight the challenges of rolling out FTTP networks across Europe.

Currently, Virgin Media is the largest gigabit retailer in the UK. However, in a couple of years, retailers like Vodafone, who use the Openreach and CityFibre FTTP network, will take the crown of the largest gigabit retailer unless expansion plans see a big increase in the Project Lightning footprint.

The closure of helloFiber is a setback for Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital, but it is not expected to have a significant impact on their plans to roll out FTTP networks across Europe. The challenges of building FTTP networks are significant, but the benefits of high-speed internet connectivity are clear. With more and more people working and studying from home, reliable and fast broadband is becoming increasingly important, and companies like Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital are working to meet this demand.

While the closure of helloFiber in Germany is unfortunate, it is just one part of a larger effort to build FTTP networks across Europe. As the demand for high-speed internet connectivity continues to grow, companies like Liberty Global and InfraVia Capital will play a critical role in providing reliable and fast broadband to customers across the continent.

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