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The deployment of the Belgian fibre network has unintended consequences for customers of Scarlet, a subsidiary of Proximus. Scarlet customers are forced to find a new provider due to the removal of copper connections in areas where Proximus is deploying fibre.

Proximus, the organization responsible for deploying fibre in Belgium, has confirmed that copper networks will be phased out five years after fibre connections are deployed. Customers of Scarlet, a Proximus subsidiary that doesn’t offer fibre, can no longer use (VDSL) broadband Internet when the time runs out.

The fact that Proximus (parent company) and Scarlet (subsidiary) were unable to prevent the issue is remarkable. According to Proximus, Scarlet is working on a fibre service that’s not ready for deployment yet. Proximus proposes a solution for customers affected by the copper network shutdown. Scarlet customers can change their subscription to a two-year, faster Proximus subscription at the same price.

The problem is that customers will have to pay the full price for fibre after Proximus’ proposed two-year offer. Although Scarlet should have its fibre offering ready by that time, customers are forced to personally change operators to stay connected to an essential service.

Edpnet affected as well

Customers of Edpnet (Belgian provider) are facing the same problem. Edpnet uses Proximus’ copper and fibre network for its services. Customers of Edpnet are forced to switch to a more expensive fibre subscription ahead of the copper shutdown.

The first Proximus copper shutdown will take place in Brussels at the end of March — exactly five years after fibre was deployed in the area, as determined by Proximus’ policy. More Belgian neighbourhoods and municipalities will follow shortly.