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ONNET

COLOMBIA - Telecoms & IT

Ximena Mora

CEO, On Net Fibra

Bio

Ximena Mora is an electrical engineer who graduated from the Universidad del Norte de Barranquilla. She has a Master’s in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Telecommunications from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, PID (Integral Management Program) from Edime and PADE (Senior Business Management Program) from Inalde (Universidad de la Sabana de Bogotá). She is also a specialist in people management having studied at the Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá. She is trilingual, speaking Spanish, English, and German, and has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications sector leading high-performance teams in areas such as commercial, marketing, customer service, technical, operations, and finance.

"Our key goal for 2024 is to reach at least 4.3 million homes passed in Colombia."
TBY talks to Ximena Mora, CEO of On Net Fibra, about Colombia, sustainability, and expanding the fiber network across the country.
What has been On Net Fibra’s contribution to the development of Colombia?

On Net Fibra is the result of a deal between KKR and Telefónica, with KKR being the major shareholder with 60%. Our key goal for 2024 is to reach at least 4.3 million homes passed in Colombia. On Net Fibra is an open and neutral fiber-to-the-home- network provider, currently deploying fiber optics across the country to make it available to every player in the telco industry. Internet service providers (ISP) or telcos pay a fee to use our network, which allows them to service their customers with the best connectivity technology. Before On Net Fibra, ISPs had to deploy their networks themselves, employing large amounts of resources. We want them to concentrate on providing the best product and service to their customers and let us handle infrastructure. Our goal is to help telcos and ISPs to connect more Colombians to the internet. Thus far, Colombia does not have that much fiber: According to Government figures, of the approximately 17 million households in the country, only half have internet access at home, and of those connected, 31% enjoy fiber-to-the-home technology. Four years ago, this latter figure was less than 10%. Connectivity in Colombia has evolved favorably thanks to our committed investment in the country. As of today, we have 3.6 million home passes in fiber optic in 71 cities across the country. This is a major accomplishment because Colombia has 32 departments, which means that we are not only in the regional capitals, but also in medium and small-size cities. That is how we contribute to building a new digital ecosystem in the country.

How are you expanding while being sustainable at the same time?

Installing a new fiber network for every service provider is a waste of material, technology, and time. We are responsible towards the environment by using just one fiber optics network to reach as many people as possible. The other important point is that fiber optics uses less energy compared to cable or copper. We are not wasting material in this manner. All these reasons, and some others, require us to convince telcos and the industry not to keep on deploying, but instead, to use On Net Fibra as the way to provide service to their customers’ homes.

On Net Fibra has also established a partnership with DIRECTV to increase its reach, quality, and services and products. Can you elaborate on this?

This partnership is vital because as a neutral network, we offer our network to any player that needs to provide a service to end customers. TV and content providers see us as a strong partner to reach out to more customers, and to further develop their service portfolio. They seek us out to form mutually advantageous partnerships because they believe in the value and potential of neutral networks. Following the agreement, DirecTV became On Net Fibra’s second largest client only behind Movistar. Our aim is to keep growing our clients base, thus helping as many ISPs as possible to bring about the benefits of digitalization to Colombian households.

How do convince market operators that you are not a competitor but rather an ally?

The important matter here is that we are a neutral network. We have the technology that enables us to provide service to all the ISPs that need this infrastructure and assure them that they all have their individual connections, and that all their information is secure with us. This is a fundamental first point. The second is our speed in terms of deployment: We are deploying around 113,000 fiber home passes per month, a significant amount. In comparison, the company in second place is doing around 13,000 home passes a month. We have the deployment machine working all time, and over 4,000 people taking care of our network out on the streets. We can guarantee that we know what we are doing and know how to put these networks in service for telcos. The third aspect is that we are also on the same page with the Government, which seeks to connect 85% of the population to internet. To meet that goal, the Colombian Government prefers using neutral infrastructure instead of encouraging several overlapping network deployments. On Net Fibra is certainly heading in the right direction. The telco sector can enjoy now a lower-investment version of business model compared to the one prevalent a decade ago, when physical infrastructure was at the heart of such companies. Today, the focus of these companies is quality of service for their customers.

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