Working with Nokia, Belgian operator Proximus has activated the world’s first 25G passive optical network (PON) fibre network

Yesterday, Proximus demonstrated what they are calling the world’s fastest fibre access network at a media event in Antwerp, Belgium. The demonstration used Nokia equipment on Proximus’s existing network to deliver network speeds exceeding 20 Gbps using 25G PON technology.

The demonstration connected the Havenhuis building in the Port of Antwerp with the Proximus central office in the middle of the city.

“The activation of the first 25G PON network worldwide shapes our bold ambition to be a trendsetter, to become a reference operator in Europe and, why not, across the globe. Together with Nokia, we have achieved a technological leap forward that will become a key enabler of the digital and economy and society that we stand for,” said Guillaume Boutin, CEO of Proximus. 

“Today’s announcement is also an occasion to stand still and look at the pace at which we connect the citizens of Antwerp to the technology of the future. Thanks to huge investments, we are realizing an acceleration that is unseen in Europe, and I am convinced this will be crucial to remain competitive for us as a company, but also for Antwerp as a city and for our entire economy.”

Nokia noted that the technology makes use of their Quillion chipset, which already supports three generations of PON technology, with the symmetrical 25G PON solution being first released back in November 2020. Currently, Quillion has been adopted by over 100 customers, according to Nokia’s President of Network Infrastructure Nokia, Federico Guillén. 

While this is certainly an exciting breakthrough for Proximus and Nokia, it is unlikely to have a major impact on Belgian connectivity for at least a year or two while the technology matures. 

In recent report by the FTTH Council Europe, data showed that Belgium is currently one of the worst performing EU nations when it comes to fibre, with just 1.4% fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) penetration rate. However, Proximus is working hard to change this, suggesting they are on target to reach 4.2 million homes or at least 70% of homes by 2028.


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