Belarusian mobile operator Velcom, a unit of Telekom Austria Group, has announced the launch of its first fixed fibre-optic broadband service in the country. However, unlike its rival MTS Belarus which offers a residential fibre service, Velcom is limiting its offer to business users, IT.TUT.BY reports. At launch, Velcom’s new fibre-optic broadband services cover the main shopping and business areas in the capital Minsk, but Velcom is looking to expand its footprint in the future. The cellco-turned-fixed line provider says it can offer users ‘unlimited’ internet access at maximum download speeds of 150Mbps.
In a separate development, the country’s national fixed line PTO Beltelecom says it expects to pass the one million mark for subscribers to its ‘ZALA’ branded IPTV service. In a business forum last week, the telco’s head of technical services, Vadim Shaybakov, confirmed that the operator currently has 4.3 million fixed telephony users, 1.96 million broadband internet subscribers and 994,000 IPTV customers. Furthermore, Shaybakov also claimed that the penetration of its fixed broadband passive optical network (xPON) in Belarus now compares to the European average (28%), while its digital TV service is expected to cover 100% of the population by 2015, up from the current 97.5%.