Foreword by our CEO
“The Netherlands is at the top of the European digital infrastructure rankings. Our networks are intricate, strong, fast and stable. VodafoneZiggo has also proven that during the coronavirus pandemic. Use of mobile and fixed services shot up and our networks coped with that well, thanks to the efforts of our employees and earlier investments, which are now paying off. We are proud of the way that our technology can connect and help people, companies and society move forward in these challenging times.”
Chief Executive Officer
If the signs are not deceiving us, 2021 will be the year in which our society will recover once again and we will start looking for new balances – a new normal. Thanks to the vaccination programmes, we will soon be able to do more and more, step by step. Things that we have taken for granted our entire lives – encouraging our children during a sports match, visiting grandma and grandpa or dining out in a restaurant – will hopefully become ‘normal’ again.
Few of us could have foreseen a year ago that the Netherlands and the rest of the world would be hit so hard by the coronavirus in 2020. VodafoneZiggo was immediately confronted with the pandemic too. A number of our employees and their loved ones were affected. Fortunately, they could count on good, loving care and the fantastic support of their colleagues. As CEO, this fills me with justifiable pride and also emotion. This is why I first wish to thank all the staff in our country’s care sector and other essential workers for their unwavering efforts. What they have achieved together, and how they kept society going with their professionalism and commitment, deserves great respect.
The Netherlands has the best digital networks
There are other areas where our country performs well too. For instance, the Netherlands is at the top of the European rankings for best digital infrastructure. That applies to both mobile and fixed internet. This is important for the business climate and our economic resilience. The Netherlands has much to offer therein: a highly-skilled workforce, high-quality transport links with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the Port of Rotterdam, and a high quality of life. This ensures that companies like to establish operations in our country and want to stay here too. VodafoneZiggo is happy and proud that its state-of-the-art products and services help bring this about.
As a provider of digital infrastructure, we have been able to witness in real time how usage record after usage record has been broken in our networks in the past year. Long-standing, somewhat entrenched patterns were radically broken due to the impact of the pandemic. We started working from home en masse with the aid of videoconferencing and related technologies. You see these records during the day. And Saturday evening after Saturday evening, we have broken download records, because millions of Dutch people are entertaining themselves at home with streaming services. Our networks were more than able to cope with these changes; the investments we have made in recent years are paying off.
Currently, 7.3 million households and businesses are connected to the fast and stable GigaNet: the powerful network of Vodafone and Ziggo. Over 3 million customers already have access to speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. In 2021, we will continue with this sustained rollout to 6 million households and businesses. In the course of 2022, all 7.3 million households and businesses will have access to gigabit speeds. We will achieve all this without having to dig. In the meantime, our experts are continuing to improve GigaNet’s quality of service. By using smarter and more efficient software, we are already achieving speeds of 5 to 10 gigabits per second on the fixed network in tests. And we were first to introduce 5G technology on the mobile network. In the field of Internet of Things, we are developing – in the 5G HUB in Eindhoven together with our partners – innovations that will shape the care sector, business community and society of tomorrow. In the coming year, our specialists will continue to work on these pilot projects. This is how GigaNet will remain up to date, also in the future.
More than technology
The power of our network therefore goes beyond the technology. It is also about how technology connects and helps people, companies and society move forward. This is what we as VodafoneZiggo stand for and what we want to take responsibility for. This includes the need to make sure everybody is involved the digital transition, including disadvantaged people. And it is also about the way in which we combine private and work lives through hybrid working, also after – and with the lessons learned from – COVID-19 And about how our technology contributes to society and how to make society greener.
People, Planet, Progress
VodafoneZiggo is part of the daily lives of millions of people. We are proud of the favourable impact that our products and services are having on society. However, our ambition extends beyond this. Last year, under the title ‘People, Planet, Progress’, we presented our new social goals for 2025, namely to halve our impact on the environment and to help two million people move forward in society. You can read more about this in the chapter ‘Our purpose and strategy’.
Broad welfare, sustainability and inclusion
In 2021 too, our staff will continue to connect people, households, companies and government institutions throughout the Netherlands. In this way, they will be driving the positive developments in the business community, because all of us in the business community can still do much more to contribute towards a sustainable and inclusive society. This is also evident from ‘Doing Business to create Broad Welfare’ (Ondernemen voor Brede Welvaart), the new strategy of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and the Dutch Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MKB-Nederland). Last year, employers consulted with employees, entrepreneurs, municipalities, experts and academics about social issues and about the role that businesses can play in this regard. Working visits and group discussions were undertaken and almost 1,300 entrepreneurs were interviewed. The conclusions reached by this so-called ‘Bridging Project’ lie close to my heart: putting the concept of broad welfare centre stage in the thoughts and actions of the business community, with a much more consideration for sustainability and inclusion. More collaboration, more openness. The contours of a Rhineland business model can be seen there, which VodafoneZiggo is proud to be part of.
This year, we will continue with that with great confidence, building on the foundations that we have laid over the past few years.
This Impact Report means that for the first time we are reporting in line with the GRI Standards: the Core option. This international reporting standard gives us new tools for measuring our impact on and performances in terms of sustainability, the aim being to improve our transparency about this both now and in the future.
I hope you enjoy reading our Impact Report 2020.