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Optimal connection for a fully operational home office
Optimal connection for a fully operational home office
Fiber to the Everything

A fully operational home office, including working parents and school-age children who all want to use videoconferencing? Then a stable internet connection is crucial, and fibre optics offer a solution. FttX, a business unit of VolkerWessels Telecom, is busy connecting buildings to fibre optics across the Netherlands.  

Fiber to the X

Niels Kamphuis, director of FttX, sees a continuously rising trend in the need for fibre optics. ‘VolkerWessels Telecom had for some time been laying fibre optics under the name FttH: Fibre to the Home. Since a few years the demand has increased enormously, and it was decided to set up a separate business unit for this and to implement a minor name change, FttX: Fibre to the X, where the X stands for everything. In 2018 we started the first projects in outlying areas, but last year we made really great strides. It looks like we are able to implement fibre optic connections in more than 150,000 homes in 2020.’

Fibre optics throughout the Netherlands

The aim is to install fibre optics throughout the Netherlands, so that households that choose a fibre optic subscription can be connected quickly. However, you cannot lay fibre optic cables just anywhere. ‘For low-rise buildings it’s easy to lay fibre optic cables in the streets, as you do not need to get past the front door until someone chooses fibre optics. For high-rises and apartment buildings this is more difficult because residents have to give permission. This is regulated differently for each corporation or owners’ association.’ Nevertheless, Niels can recommend fibre optics to anyone. Especially during these times, but also in the future. ‘Fibre optics provide a higher bandwidth, which is certainly welcome when you’re at home with the whole family. But it’s also ideal for the business world to send all data from A to B and to reach employees properly. And what about video calls with family in an outlying area or even abroad?’

"The aim is to install fibre optics throughout the Netherlands, so that households that choose a fibre optic subscription can be connected quickly."

Laying cables while 1.5 meters apart

Some 5.5 million homes still need to be fitted with fibre optics, so FttX has their work cut out for them in the coming years. FttX can continue its work under the current conditions, but with the necessary precautions. ‘Fortunately, we’re able to carry on, but the corona crisis also brings challenges for us. If you lay a cable in a trench with 5 to 6 people, you have to make good arrangements with each other about how everyone keeps enough distance.”

The current need for fibre optics

But during the corona crisis, you need to find smart solutions with customers as well. ‘Some customers are nervous about us entering their home, so we involve them in the process both before and during the work. Our Customer Service Desk sends information by post and contacts customers by telephone, and the fitter runs an LMRA (Last Minute Risk Analysis) during the visit. We keep telling people what we’re doing, and that gives people confidence about the execution.’ On the other hand, Niels also notices that fibre optic welders and fitters are in fact now being welcomed with open arms. ‘People find out that their internet connection is not fast enough. They call regularly to ask if we could please come right now!’

VolkerWessels companies involved

VolkerWessels Telecom | FttX