In 2002, SOFICO was entrusted with the management and development of Wallonia's optical fibre network. This network now constitutes approximately 4,000 kilometres of cables and covers the whole of Wallonia, Brussels and a small part of Flanders (Gand and Anvers mainly). For this purpose, it lays optical fibres and facilitates the deployment of mobile phone antennas alongside motorways and waterways.
By the end of 2024, 100% of Walloon business parks (292) will be equipped with fibre optic (high-speed network).
Strategic Fibre Optic Plan
Since 2020, SOFICO has deployed a new strategic plan, in keeping with its telecommunications activities, based on:
- the need to improve the connectivity of companies;
- the need to increase income by adapting the offer and prices, while maintaining a high level of quality;
- the need for better high-speed network coverage in the region for landline and mobile networks;
- the importance of the fibre optic network for managing the structured network and its adaptation to the ITS and for managing waterways.
This strategic plan will be completed over five years and is based on three axes:
- Axis 1: the continued deployment of the fibre optic network, with the additional installation of 263 kilometres along the structured network and 163 kilometres along waterways, in line with the ITS strategies and waterway-management requirements (Perex 4.0);
- Axis 2: the strengthening of SOFICO’s position as a neutral ‘open network’ supplier of connectivity (SOFICO is adapting its business strategy to accelerate its growth in the market, with the establishment of preferred partners);
- Axis 3: the use of SOFICO’s experience and organisation to facilitate the deployment and management of fibre optic networks in zones with lower profitability, notably with Walloon companies, by supplementing coverage in the 103 existing zones and by deploying the fibre in 154 additional zones. With 257 zones in total, SOFICO will therefore cover nearly 90% (87%) of zones in Wallonia. The aim is also to support landline and mobile operators with the development of their network, notably at the level of 4G and 5G.
Walloon Recovery Plan
Thanks to the Walloon Recovery Plan, fibre optic will be deployed at the last 35 business parks.
This means 100% of Walloon business parks will be equipped by 2024.
This optical fibre is used to :
- Manage traffic dynamically on the waterways and motorways while meeting the new needs of intelligent motorways;
- Deploy optical fibre in areas with low profitability;
- Provide broadband access through telecommunication operators to connect their private customers, SME, health care sectors, administrations, etc.
Since 2002, several sectors have benefited from the optical fibre network managed by SOFICO :
What is an optical fibre ?
An optical fibre is a glass fibre, thinner than a human hair, surrounded by a plastic sheath that is able to conduct light.
Data is transmitted from one point to another via a light wave (similar to infra-red). This light beam can carry large quantities of data at very high speeds over long distances – hundreds and even thousands of kilometres – without any data loss or interferences.