The Netherlands are ranked among the countries with the best digital infrastructure when it comes to price, coverage and speed. Competition on the telecom market has resulted in two fixed networks with national coverage and (after the European Commission has approved the take-over of Tele2 by T-Mobile) three mobile networks with national coverage.
Competition between fixed infrastructures (copper, coaxial cable and optical fibre) results in alternating network technologies at the cutting edge of developments. This leapfrog effect fuels the incentive to keep investing in the rollout and usage of the latest network technologies. The technology behind copper and coaxial cable has improved in recent years to match optical fibre. This development resulted in increasingly higher speeds. The limits of copper with regard to data capacity and speed have apparently been reached, and coaxial cable can now measure up to optical fibre. To keep up with coaxial cable, our competitors have announced to focus (once again) on optical fibre, notwithstanding the high rollout costs.
Competition on the mobile markets has led to innovation and fierce price pressure: there aren’t many places in the world where users get so much data and speed for relatively low prices. Because of the investments in mobile networks, the latter are now ranked among the fastest in the world. The battle to secure the user's favour is fierce, as the market is shrinking. Providers offer knock-down prices and combined package discounts to customers already subscribing to fixed internet.
In order to be able to fulfil future requirements, substantial investments are needed in the digital infrastructure, for maintaining as well as upgrading the fixed and mobile networks. The Dutch are increasingly active online, download more and more content, with increasing expectations: data usage rises with 40 to 60% each year. VodafoneZiggo invests approximately 20% of its revenues in its fixed and mobile networks every year. In 2018, that amounted to approximately 800 million euro. To ensure the Netherlands remains at the top, continuous investments are needed. This doesn’t take care of itself.
Investments originate from the telecom providers themselves and providers need to incorporate them in their plans. Policy predictability and investment security are essential in this respect. European and Dutch telecom legislation should encourage private investments in infrastructures and innovation. Therefore, it is a good thing that the government and regulatory bodies involve us in the design of new policy. The fixed and mobile networks constitute the foundation of connectivity in the Netherlands.
In the second half of 2018, VodafoneZiggo launched the campaign 'Network of the Future'. It demonstrates that VodafoneZiggo invests in the upgrading of its fixed and mobile networks, for everyone, throughout the Netherlands. Gigabit speeds will become possible through cable, for example, and we are preparing for the next generation of mobile communications. Applications of the future accelerated in this way are e.g. autonomous mobility, remote surgery, smart farming and virtual reality gaming. VodafoneZiggo is truly aiming for a Network of the Future.