Axione gets in on U.K. fiber craze with new wholesale arm

French operator Axione sought to capitalize on the white-hot fiber market in the U.K., creating a new subsidiary to deploy and operate a wholesale network serving rural and sub-urban areas across the country.

The company said in a press release its new Axione Fibre division will operate using an open access network model, offering wholesale fiber services to internet service providers, integrators, operators and channel partners. It added the move has the support of Axione’s shareholders Bouygues Energies & Services and Vauban Infrastructure Partners, and is being fueled by a £300 million (approximately $412.5 million) investment.

Pierre Vanstoflegatte, Axione president and chairman of Bouygues Energies & Services, said in a statement Axione already “proved the strength of its model in France” and is now “leveraging its expertise in the U.K., a key market in the development strategy of Bouygues Construction’s energy and services division, through Axione Fibre.”

Dominique Astier, managing director of Axione UK, added the new fiber-to-the-premises network will target “small towns and villages across the U.K.” Ultimately, the company aims to reach a total of 4 million premises throughout the country.

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As in the U.S., the fiber market is currently on fire in the U.K. Earlier this year, the government there launched a £5 billion ($6.94 billion) campaign to ensure 85% of the country is covered with gigabit-capable service by 2025. Its effort is designed to supplement investments from a wide range of private companies, including BT, which is aiming to reach 25 million homes with fiber by 2026, and Virgin Media O2, which is planning to upgrade its entire fixed network to fiber-to-the-premises by 2028.

CityFibre, which like Axione is focused on wholesale connectivity, is currently aiming to reach 8 million premises by 2025.