Noerr, Lex Mundi member firm for Germany, has advised Deutsche Telekom on negotiating and concluding a joint venture agreement on an investment in fibre infrastructure with EWE AG. Operating under the name “Glasfaser NordWest”, the joint venture is still subject to merger control clearance by the Federal Cartel Office. The parties reported the merger project to the Cartel Office on 21 March 2019. Deutsche Telekom was advised by WilmerHale on the merger control law aspects.
Glasfaser NordWest is to provide fast internet to up to 1.5 million households and buildings, by establishing a modern fibre-to-the-home or fibre-to-the building (FTTB/H) network in the German federal states Lower Saxony, North-Rhine Westphalia and Bremen. The cooperation between Telekom and EWE is regarded as a landmark project. Set up as a pure infrastructure company, Glasfaser NordWest will provide its network to all telecoms providers. Both partners expect investments of up to two billion euros over a period of around ten years.
Glasfaser NordWest will establish the new infrastructure in North-western Germany in an open and competitive selection process. In an initial phase, the two parent companies Telekom and EWE will take care of setting-up the network on behalf of Glasfaser NordWest. Glasfaser NordWest will subsequently award the expansion areas to third parties by way of a selection procedure. Once an area is developed, the two telecoms providers EWE and Telekom and all other interested telecoms companies will be able to offer fast internet in direct competition for their customers.
In 2020, the first customers in the expansion area are expected to be able to use the new fibre connections. The cooperation is not limited to a specific time. Following approval by the antitrust authorities, the two parties intend to quickly incorporate the Oldenburg-based joint venture and start establishing the network.
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