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A group of Dutch state railways and energy companies is gearing up to challenge newly privatised Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV, but says it needs a foreign partner before it can get going: provisionally dubbed Telecom 2, the consortium will be ready to fight for domestic customers by 1998, but hopes to roll out its first services to business customers by 1995, according to Dutch railways’ project leader Pieter Jacobs: We hope to serve the first client with the first service somewhere in 1995, he told Reuters; a 20% stake in Telecom 2 is on offer to a foreign partner which has the necessary strategic views and marketing skills to help the consortium reach its goals, Jacobs said – and Cable & Wireless may well be interested – Telecom 2’s merchant bank, Credit Suisse First Boston in London, is vetting applicants to join the consortium with a deadline of the end of the year; it hopes to win a 15% share of a market that is currently growing at 7% a year, and will use fibre optic cables already laid by the 12 Dutch provincial and municipally-owned electricity, and cables laid along railway lines; the energy firms’ links with local cable television firms means half the network is already complete.

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CBR Staff Writer

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