Polish triple-play cableco INEA has taken a 74.68% stake in Wielkopolska Broadband Network (Wielkopolska Sieci Szerokopasmowej, WSS), a company which is rolling out a fibre-optic backbone/distribution network in the Wielkopolska voivodeship (region) in western Poland under an agreement inked in December 2010 between the public-private venture’s participants. Telepolis.pl reports that once finished, the WSS network will be 4,500km long with 576 access points available to broadband operators on an equal access basis, with the aim of expanding next generation access (NGA) fixed internet services to underserved areas (including locations previously deemed unprofitable to do so), by constructing at least one network access point in each Wielkopolska community. The cost of the project amounts to PLN410 million (USD128.5 million), of which European Union (EU) funding will cover 85%, while according to the plan the WSS network should be completed by the end of this year. The Wielkopolska voivodeship retains a 25.17% ownership stake in WSS, while Asta-Net holds the remaining 0.15%.
INEA is the Wielkopolska region’s biggest cableco and is reportedly among the five largest cablecos in Poland. Back in April 2013 CommsUpdate reported that INEA had ambitions to roll out a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network to pass 200,000 Wielkopolska homes and businesses, additional to the 360,000 cable homes passed by its network at that date (claiming 170,000 cable subscribers). Also at that date the WSS public-private partnership was expected to provide a fibre-optic backbone and distribution network of 4,000km (later upped to 4,500km) ‘to put 95% of Wielkopolskie homes within 4km of a distribution node’.