Chile , Peru , Brazil and Colombia

Snapshot: Latin America’s 5 biggest neutral fiber networks

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2023
Snapshot: Latin America’s 5 biggest neutral fiber networks

The fiber to the home (FTTH) market in Latin America continues to grow steadily, driven by demand for reliable networks and the upgrade and modernization of existing fixed broadband grids.

Despite a shaky year in terms of investments, the region’s FTTH market was expected to end 2022 with approximately 105mn homes passed with fiber, up 36%, or 28mn new premises, from the end of 2021, according to the Latin America chapter of the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA).

“The plans that the operators had [for 2022] weren't achieved, not because of capital problems, but rather because of other resources, such as materials. I believe that this storm that we experienced from the end of 2021 to the middle of 2022 is settling down and there's a different outlook for 2023,” the president of FBA Latin America, Eduardo Jedruch, told BNamericas recently.

In order to cope with the capital-intensive rollout of fiber, carriers and internet service providers (ISP) are resorting to wholesale fiber network providers, also known as neutral fiber networks, a phenomenon that started to take shape in the region in 2021.

Many telcos actually sold part of their own fiber to investment funds to become partners and anchor-customers in these ventures to reduce costs and bring new revenue streams into their operations. 

BNamericas takes a look at the five biggest neutral fiber providers and provides updates on their coverage goals.


Created from the spin-off of Oi’s fiber network, V.tal is perhaps the most advanced of the active neutral fiber networks in the region, having reportedly signed contracts with more than 50 ISPs to use its network as of the end of October.

Around 20 of these ISPs were said to be active, that is, using the network to serve their end-customers with FTTH.

V.tal has 430,000km of fiber backbone that came from Oi, and its network currently includes 20mn homes passed with fiber, connecting more than 2,380 municipalities in Brazil, with a goal of reaching 34mn homes by 2025.

The company passed 5mn more homes in 2022 and plans to pass another 4mn this year. 

It also has 26,000km of submarine cables belonging to its subsidiary GlobeNet, which connects Brazil to Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Bermuda and the US, as well as edge datacenters distributed in Brazil and Colombia.

Launched in August 2021, 65.9% of the V.tal JV is now owned by funds linked to BTG Pactual and 34.1% is owned by Oi. 

In December, Brazil's TIM, which has its own fiber JV (I-Systems), announced a contract to lease V.tal's network as well.


Also created in 2021, FiBrasil is Telefônica's neutral fiber optics JV with Canadian fund CDPQ. It is said to have “dozens” of contracts in place with ISPs and carriers, although only two have been made public so far, with Vrio (DirecTV's Sky Brasil) and Vero Internet.

Through FiBrasil, Sky plans to reach 150 cities with its newly launched fixed broadband operation by the end of this year.  

With a 25,000km fiber backbone, mostly inherited from Telefônica, FiBrasil planned to reach 6mn homes passed with fiber by 2024. The company reportedly ended 2022 with close to 5mn homes passed in 170 localities.

CDPQ owns 50% of Telefônica Brasil’s fiber networks in the JV, while the other 50% is held through Telefônica Brasil and Telefónica Infra, the infrastructure arm of Spain’s Telefónica group, each with 25%. CDPQ paid approximately 1.8bn reais for the interest.

CDPQ has around US$11bn in infrastructure investments in Latin America, representing around 11% of its global infrastructure portfolio, including assets such as highways, container terminals, renewable energy generation, energy transmission and fiber optics.


Created in January 2022 following Telefónica Colombia’s sale of control of its fiber network to US fund KKR, On Net Fibra Colombia's initial goal was to grow at a rate of around 1.1mn homes passed per year, reaching 2.3mn homes in 2022 and 4.3mn by 2024, and covering 90 localities.

The JV kicked off with 1.2mn homes passed with fiber, inherited by Telefónica. On Net is 60% owned by KKR and 40% by Telefónica. 

The Colombian neutral network company has not yet gone public with a third-party contract, having been relying solely on its co-partner and anchor-tenant Telefónica.

“We are surely above a dozen or 15 potential clients with whom we are negotiating and our expectation is that before the end of this quarter we will have at least three other tenants connected to our network," On Net Colombia president Ximena Mora Mendez told BNamericas last April.

Through KKR, Telefónica's Colombian subsidiary is deploying fiber at a rate of around 130,000 homes passed per month, José Juan Haro, director of public affairs and wholesale business at Telefónica Hispam, told BNamericas in December.

According to Haro, given the size of the country, the plan “is somewhat more ambitious” than in Chile, where the Telefónica group and KKR also operate a separate On Net fiber JV.


With close to 40,000km of fiber backbone, the Telefonica-KKR JV is deploying fiber at a rate of 100,000 homes per month in Chile and was on track to end 2022 with 4mn homes passed.

This is 70% more than it had in July 2021 when it went live with the operation and its US$220mn, five-year investment plan.

In October, Chilean telecom operator Entel decided to sell its fiber optic network to On Net Chile, in a US$360mn deal still pending approval that included an agreement for the use of the wholesale network. The deal would also give On Net an extra 1.2mn homes passed from Entel.

Jose Luis Poch, vice president of Entel's consumer division, said that if the agreement with On Net is approved, it would be able to increase Entel’s FTTH coverage quickly, incorporating almost 3mn homes passed.


Tower company IHS Towers is considering expanding the neutral fiber model it developed in Brazil with TIM to other markets where it operates with towers and related telecom infrastructure, such as Colombia, Peru and Nigeria.

Of the three national neutral fiber networks that have telcos as partners and anchor tenants, I-Systems remains the only one not to have announced any client as yet.

I-Systems had 4.3mn homes passed with fiber as of last October, most of which to TIM. 

Previously, TIM said it expected to reach 8.9mn premises passed with fiber in 2024 through the JV.


After being sold last year to DigitalBridge, Chilean firm Mundo announced that it became the first fiber operator to migrate its customers from HFC to fiber. 

Betting on the neutral fiber JV offering, the company projected capex of US$200mn for the full year and plans to enter Peru and Ecuador soon.

Brazil’s Americanet announced this month it was creating a buried neutral fiber network, initially focusing on greater São Paulo. It said it was also seeking investors for the project.

Also in Brazil, Ufinet claims to be one the few 100% neutral fiber networks because, unlike FiBrasil or V.tal, it does not have any telecom operator as an anchor-partner.

The telecom infrastructure company, created as a spin-off of power group Enel's fiber network, also intends to grow inorganically in Brazil and in Latin America. The company’s Brazilian fiber network surpasses 100,000km.

In Colombia, Tigo Colombia announced in July that it was entering Bogotá’s fixed broadband market using fiber optics deployed by the local Ufinet subsidiary and by ETB, although the deal has not yet been approved by regulators.

Ufinet's Bogotá network was expected to reach 320,000 homes passed in 2022. Meanwhile, ETB had about 1.5mn homes passed with fiber optics to be added to Tigo's offering.

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