Liberty Global wants a piece of Germany's fiber growth

Liberty Global made a move to return to Germany two years after selling off its cable networks in the country, this time plotting a fiber play via a joint venture formed by its investment arm and private equity firm InfraVia Capital Partners.

Called Liberty Networks Germany, the joint venture will initially target fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments in “a small number” of under-served municipalities, according to a press release. Additional investments could follow if the first phase of the rollout meets certain success criteria.

“Liberty Networks Germany offers an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in deploying critical broadband infrastructure in a market we know very well,” Robert Dunn, Liberty Global’s managing director for Connectivity Investments, said in a statement. He added the company is “excited by the attractive returns offered by greenfield fiber network deployment in a country where millions of homes don’t yet have access to fast and reliable broadband.”

The announcement comes after Liberty Global’s U.K. joint venture with BT, Virgin Media O2, announced plans to transition to full fiber-to-the-premises by 2028.

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Its return to the German market comes two years after Liberty Global closed the sale of its cable assets in Germany and central Europe to Vodafone Group for $22 billion. At the time of the sale, Liberty Global’s network in the country spanned 13 million homes and had 7.2 million customers.

The move is perhaps unsurprising given Germany has been flagged as a key fiber growth market in Europe.

Earlier this month, FTTH Council Europe released a report which forecast the number of FTTH passings in Germany will rise from 9 million in 2021 to 33 million in 2026. The number of fiber subscriptions in the country was tipped to jump from 3.5 million to 25.5 million over the same period, with penetration expected to increase from 8.4% to nearly 60%.