Portugal goes for fibre optics

Portugal's government has signed an agreement with the country's four top telecommunications operators to develop a new fibre-optic network.

Portugal Telecom (PT), in which Spain's main telco Telefónica has an important stake, Sonaecom, ONI and ZON Multimedia (former PT Multimedia) have agreed to participate in the project. Portugal’s government will invest €1,000 in the project during 2009 and plans for the fibre optic betworks to be used for at least 1.5 millon Portuguese people. The total cost of the project amounts to €2,500 million.

Now the signatories have 44 days to define some points of the agreement such as the loan. At this point the Ministry of Public Works and Communications has already assured the telcos it will allocate €800 million to the bidders. And on its side the government will guarantee fiscal advantages for €50 million either for the operators as well as for the final users.

Sonaecom's president Angelo Pauperio declared "this is a welcome initiative because it will give better conditions for the operators to develop new-generation networks".

ZON Multimedia's executive president said "the agreement means a turning point in Portugal's telecommunications market".