Inexio successfully deploys FTTC in the west of Germany

Thursday 13 October 2011 | 16:25 CET | Background

Private German company Inexio is rolling out FTTC in the Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland regions at a solid pace. The regional network operator currently has almost 100 towns connected to its own fibre backbone. Telecompaper spoke with Thomas Schommer, in charge of PR, to find out more about where Inexio is coming from and where it is going.

The firm is privately held, with the Zimmer family heavily involved. David Zimmer is the managing director; his brother Tobias Zimmer is in the executive board and father Ernst-Matthias Zimmer is a member of the supervisory board. David Zimmer, Thorsten Klein and Jens Schemel are inexio’s largest shareholders. David and Tobias Zimmer are not 40 years old but have almost 20 years of experience in the telecoms market. Inexio originally focused on the business market and had its own fibre ring constructed in the west of Germany, connecting Frankfurt to Luxembourg. The company is now in the midst of adding all sorts of subrings and plans to complete the existing network by 2013. The network also connects businesses to fibre, with some consumer premises also using the same technology: fibre-to-the-building (FTTB).

In 2009, the company began planning a wider expansion into the consumer market, seeing there an opportunity in the wake of limited efforts made by Telekom Deutschland. Inexio’s strategy here had everything to do with its existing infrastructure and business, and the options available in the market to create a solid business model. The solution found was to build its own fibre network to Telekom Deutschland’s street cabinets, adding its own VDSL equipment and renting space in the cabinet and over TD’s copper access lines. Inexio uses VDSL2 technology over the last mile. The most important vendors are Cisco, Keymile and Juniper. The company chose a model of vertical integration, with services offered by a separate subsidiary, Quix. At the moment, Quix serves around 8,000 consumer customers and its network has around 24,000 thousand homes passed.

The network gives ìnexio a 1 or 10 Gbps backhaul from the to-the-street cabinets it uses. Around 100-150 consumers are usually connected from each cabinet. Schommer confirmed that the network should be seen as ‘FTTH-ready’, due to its topology. If, in the future, FTTC is not enough and fibre needs to be laid all the way to the end user, the company will be able to do that relatively easily. The distance to subscribers is not longer than 400-500 meters, which limits the capex necessary for upgrading most lines to FTTH. In this respect, inexio somewhat resembles Kabeltex (Texel) and LomboXnet (Utrecht) in the Netherlands, but with one important difference: the latter two apply Ethernet, instead of VDSL, over the last stretch to the consumer.

Quix offers broadband access and telephony, and currently has no plans to add (IP) TV, since consumers in the regions where it is and where it plans to go already have satellite TV in the main. Services offered:

  • Fixed telephony;
  • Broadband at 3, 16, 25, 50 or 100 Mbps;
  • Mobile telephony: Quix is an MVNO on one of the German network operators.

    A double play with 100/5 Mbps broadband costs EUR 60 per month. The double play with 25/2 or 50/2 Mbps are the most popular choices and come at EUR 45 and EUR 50 per month. The company is already active in 100 places, with Schommer confirming to Telecompaper that the penetration rate in most towns reached 60 percent, and sometimes even more, within two years.

    Inexio has chosen to cooperate with municipalities, communities and energy companies whenever possible. In one example, the company rents space in (empty) ducts that were installed in the past. Inexio intends to expand the number of connected towns to 250-280 within the next 20-24 months, from its current level of 100. This move will take the number of homes passed to 80,000. The company is also seeking to expand beyond the federal states in Germany where it is currently active.

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