Fiber to the Home in Belgium: status and future

Will large fiber deployments bring Belgium back to the top of broadband in Europe?

High level event with eminent speakers of BIPT, City Council of Ghent, Comsof, Orange Belgium, Proximus and Telage; including a debate between all speakers and time for questions from the audience.



Welcome of the participants


Welcome speech
by Daniël Termont (mayor Ghent, to be confirmed) & José Van Ooteghem (board member


FTTX in Ghent: a brief history and next steps
Karl-Filip Coenegrachts (Chief Strategy Officer - City of Ghent)

Karl‐Filip Coenegrachts is Master of Laws, specialized in European Law. From 1997 to 2000 he worked for the Belgian Ministry of Justice as co‐ordinator for the European Union and Schengen. In 2001 he started in Ghent as advisor to the Vice Mayor responsible for personnel and IT. In that capacity he co‐founded Digipolis, the intermunicipal organisation for ICT for the cities of Ghent and Antwerp, and Gentinfo, the first local citizen service centre in Europe. In 2004 he became head of Department of Strategy and International Relations of the City of Ghent and Chief Strategy Officer in 2015. His responsibilities include the long term strategy of Ghent including the implementation of horizontal policies, smart city/citizen strategy, data and information management, ICT strategy, international relations and networks, policy participation, integrated urban development and European funding programmes. He is currently also Ghent representative and President of the Executive Committee of Eurocities and expert of the Board and ExCom of Digipolis.


Belgian Broadband from a Regulatory Perspective – How does Belgium compare within the EU? How does Regulation look like evolving?
Tony Shortall (Director Telage – EU Regulations specialist)

Tony Shortall is Director of Telage, a consultancy in the field of telecommunications economics and regulation. He is an economist specialising in the regulation of network industries and is acknowledged expert in the area of telecommunications policy and regulation. He has written extensively on these matters and has advised governments, regulators and firms. Tony previously worked as an economist at the European Commission (2001-2008), working on developing the 2002 eCommunications Regulatory Framework and the subsequent Reform adopted in 2009. He also prepared the first two iterations of the Recommendation on Relevant Markets, participated in preparing the SMP Guidelines, participated for the Commission on the ERG Common Position on Remedies. He prepared the 1st draft of the Commission Recommendation on Next Generation Access consulted upon in 2008, as well as the Commission Recommendation on Termination Rates. He helped to establish the Article 7 task force and acted as principle advisor to the team which assessed National Regulator’s market assessments.


Cost of deploying a fiber network: cost figures and key factors for a success case
Raf Meersman (CEO COMSOF)

Raf Meersman started his career at Comsof as a consultant in 1999 after graduating as an engineer in telecommunications. In 2005, Raf became CTO. In this role he was responsible for the research and development of FiberPlanIT, Comsof's optimisation engine for FTTx network planning. In 2012, Raf became shareholder and CEO of the Company. COMSOF started in 1998 as a spin-off company of the internationally recognised Department of Information Technology (Intec) of Ghent University, Comsof keeps in close touch with the state-of-the-art in ICT. The success of Comsof is based on a team of highly-skilled professionals who combine an extensive technological knowledge concerning telecommunications and computer networking with a broad experience in software development. Based on its flexibility and experience, the Comsof team consistently delivers on schedule innovative, cost-effective solutions for your complex ICT problems. Providing state-of-the-art solutions in its many projects, Comsof has proven to deliver substantial customer value. We are committed to provide our customers with advanced and dedicated solutions based on innovative and best-in-class software development, which is consistently designed with a strong focus on the client specific needs.


Current and future regulation of broadband in Belgium: overview of proposed market analysis, reactions from stakeholders and next steps
Axel Desmedt (BIPT Council Member)

Axel Desmedt holds a Master’s degree in Law from the Free University of Brussels as well as an LL M degree from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA) where he specialised in international commercial law. Following his law degree he pleaded at the Bar for eight years, working respectively for the offices Stibbe (at the EU/WTO Department) and WilmerHale (at the “Competition”, “Trade” and “Communication” Departments). As such he represented clients from the postal and telecommunications sectors. From 2006 until 2009, Axel Desmedt worked for France Telecom/Orange as a senior legal counsellor at the Roaming & International Interconnection Department, and subsequently as Deputy Director of the Permanent Representation to the EU at France Telecom/Orange. Axel Desmedt has been a Member of the BIPT Council since 2009, managing several services. In January 2017 he was nominated once more as a Member of the Council. Axel Desmedt co-founded the magazine on network industry legislation for which he holds a position on the editorial team and he is a visiting lecturer at the UCL as well. The Belgian Institute for Postal services and Telecommunications (BIPT) was created in 1991 as a semi-governmental body and was given a statute of its own by the Act of 17 January 2003 on the status of the regulator of the Belgian postal and telecommunications sectors.


Coffee and soft drinks


Proximus Fiber Ambition, including zoom in on Ghent and challenges for nationwide deployment
Dirk Lybaert (Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Proximus)

Dirk Lybaert is Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, regrouping the following areas of responsibilities: Group Communications, Legal, Public Affairs, Regulatory, Secretary General, Security Governance & Investigations, Internal Audit & Risk Management and Carrier & Wholesale. He is also a member of the Board at BICS, Proximus Opal, Proximus Art, Proximus Foundation and Bednet. Mr Lybaert was since 2005 Secretary-General of Belgacom. From 1995 until 2007 he was an assistant at the Law Faculty at the University of Brussels for the course “Name Contracts”. From 2000 to 2005 he held different positions within the Legal department of Belgacom. Prior to Belgacom he was an officer at the Federal Police where he ended as Lieutenant-Colonel, director of the Anti-Terrorism Program. Mr Lybaert has Master’s degrees in Criminology, Law and Business Law, as well as degrees in Advanced Management and Social and Military Sciences.Proximus is the leading provider of telephony, internet, television and network-based ICT services in Belgium through our Proximus and Scarlet brands. Our advanced interconnected fixed and mobile networks offer access anywhere and anytime to digital services and data, as well as to a broad offering of multimedia content. We are investing in future-proof networks and innovative solutions, creating the foundations for sustainable growth.


Creating fair competition in fixed access with fiber – a challenger's viewpoint
Gabriel Flichy (CTO Orange Belgium)

Gabriel Flichy has been Chief Technology Officer of Orange Belgium since November 2012. He has spent more than 25 years in the Orange Group where he has held many different technical and executive positions in various countries. From 2010 to 2012, he was Chief Technology Officer of Orange Switzerland. He ran large operational units in France before, successfully taking charge of all IT operations in Orange France after having managed another unit handling all centralized Network functions for the full Fixed and Mobile Network in the South East of France. From 2000 to 2003, he worked for what became Orange Business Services in the US as AVP Sales Delivery. He started his career in International Networks working first on cable ships laying more than 10000 km of submarine cables and then taking charge of international network planning. He holds Engineering Degrees both from Ecole Polytechnique and Télécom Paris in France.Orange Belgium is one of the leading telecommunication operators on the Belgian market, with over 3 million customers, and in Luxembourg through its subsidiary Orange Communications Luxembourg. As a convergent actor, we provide mobile telecommunication services, internet and TV to private clients, as well as innovative mobile and fixed line services to businesses. Our high-performance mobile network supports 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G+ technology and is the subject of ongoing investments.
Orange Belgium is a subsidiary of the Orange Group, one of the leading European and African operators for mobile telephony and internet access, as well as one of the world leaders for telecommunication services to enterprises.


Panel discussion with all presenters
Moderated by Tony Shortall with possibility for questions from the audience.


Closing message
by Raf Meersman (VP


Networking & Reception

Event sponsor
Practical info

Date: Wed 27.09.2017
Time: 16:00–21:00 h

Location: Town Hall Ghent
(Botermarkt 1, 9000 Gent)

-  Price: € 195,00 (excl. VAT)
- members: € 125,00 (excl. VAT)
-  Students: € 25,00 (incl. VAT)


Please pay, after registration, the corresponding attendance fee to the account BE97 4155 1091 2149 of vzw Nerend-aard 6, 2550 Kontich

Cancellation policy
Cancellation will be allowed without penalty until two weeks before the event. After this date a charge of 25% of the attendance fee will be made regardless the reason of the cancellation. Notice of cancellation must be done by e-mail to = seminars that lead to insights on state-of-the-art topics

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