Kortrijk is opening up the fastest-ever digital highway with an 80-km fiber optic network covering all business premises. Cheaper, even faster than before –and certainly streets ahead of the current offering. “Kortrijk is already the de facto economic heart of West Flanders,” says city mayor Vincent Van Quickenborne. “Eurofiber is putting us firmly on the innovation map.”
“Our mission is unequivocal,” states Eurofiber CEO Hans Witdouck, who also hails from Kortrijk. “We want to bring all businesses into the digital age.” Which is why he sought out Kortrijk’s mayor, Vincent Van Quickenborne. Both men are fully committed to a digital future and want to involve all stakeholders –i.e. everyone– in this strategic vision for the future. Eurofiber has made significant investments in the Kortrijk region, installing a fiber optic ring of some 80 km that runs through all of the local businesses. Fiber optic connections are the very best there is when it comes to critical business applications, speed, transmission and communication. “We provide a connection to our network, free of charge, to all businesses located within a radius of 300 metres from our fiber optic ring. And we make an appointment with all other users to reach a mutually agreeable arrangement,” says Hans Witdouck, undoubtedly pointing to the fact that Eurofiber is considerably cheaper than Proximus and Telenet. And, not insignificantly, companies that use Eurofiber do so with absolutely no installation charge, unlike with the competition. That’s unheard of.
Europe has made it very clear: digital applications using fiber optics put towns, cities, companies and local residents socially and economically on the map. Smart cities are the future. And Kortrijk is exactly that – and intends staying that way. Mayor Vincent Van Quickenborne, who used to be the responsible for all things digital, both nationally and internationally, and who is very impressed by what they are doing in Japan and South Korea, is extremely pleased with the investment made by Eurofiber: “Kortrijk is the leading region for the manufacturing industry and has some incredibly strong players, such as Barco and many other companies.” The arrival of Eurofiber capitalises on the digital card being played by many business. Eurofiber is the best alternative for organisations in the region. In fact, one of its first customers was Kortrijk’s AZ Groeninge hospital. If ever there was an operation that has to be 100 per cent digitally available at all times, it’s a healthcare establishment. Other major Eurofiber customers include Van Marcke, Vandemoortele and the service-provider Savaco.
Kortrijk is a particularly important area for Eurofiber, says Hans Witdouck. The fiber optic provider is focusing on the main regions and companies in Belgium and the Netherlands. For example, it has invested heavily at the Port of Antwerp and acquired the whole fiber business from Syntigo/B-Telecom (Belgian railways with fiber optics along every track). It is also the fiber master at the Corda Campus in Hasselt. “We are now focusing exclusively on services for businesses,” continues Hans Witdouck. But he also clearly has an eye on the future: every fiber optic sheath today carries 144 optical fibers, with 7 spare conduits to make a multiple.
Kortrijk: fully fledged digital pioneer
With the Internet of Things, everything is linked wirelessly and superfast using optical fiber. It will come as no surprise to know that Eurofiber also links the base stations for Orange (formerly Mobistar). For a major centre such as Kortrijk, this is a strategic choice: “We have aligned Kortrijk with Eurofiber as a digital pioneer. Its rivals, the monopolies, have lost the battle,” says city mayor Vincent Van Quickenborne who is going all out for a fully digital city, complete with cameras in every street. “And to do that, you need the right digital infrastructure. In the first instance, however, Eurofiber aims to focus mainly on services for businesses and for government, which are vitally important for Kortrijk, of course. But it is also thinking about services for individual citizens. “It’s high time, too,” sighs Mayor Vincent Van Quickenborne. “The monopoly situation between Proximus and Telenet has gone on for far too long. Every year they push prices upwards on account of inflation, but it is precisely Telenet and Proximus that are causing the inflation. So it’s time that Eurofiber put an end to that.” Businesses and perhaps also the people of Kortrijk will shortly be the first to be able to take advantage of this change.[ssbp]