French Regulator Welcomes Orange, SFR Proposals
French telecom regulator Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes (ARCEP) has welcomed the FTTH commitments made by Orange and SF. The commitments relate to fibre coverage in the less densely populated parts of France, and are a response to the targets proposed in the 2010 Call for Expressions of Investment (l’Appel à Manifestation d’Intentin d’Investissement, AMII).
ARCEP notes that Orange and SFR propose to engage in geographic areas covering the entire area addressed by the AMII. This totals more than 3,600 municipalities, corresponding to about 13.7 million premises (homes or businesses).
Orange proposes to commit to 2,978 municipalities, totalling approximately 11.10 million premises. This proposal represents approximately 30% of the population, 7% of the territory and 30% of the number of premises in France.
SFR proposes to engage 641 municipalities totalling about 2.55 million premises. This proposal represents about 8% of the population, 1.5% of the territory and 7% of the number of premises in France.
Orange aims to connect 100% of the premises in the zone to which it is committed, and meet two deadlines: at least 92% of connectable premises at the end of 2020, the rest being “connectable on demand”; then 100% of connectable premises at the end of 2022. SFR proposes to make at least 92% of premises connectable at the end of 2020 in the zone to which it is committed, the rest being “connectable on request”.
These commitment proposals make legally binding the scope and timing of the deployment of optical fibre to the subscriber in the areas concerned, allowing ARCEP to sanction possible breaches,
All is not quite sweetness and light, though.
In the view of ARCEP, the commitments proposed by the two operators will require a prolonged intensification of their efforts to keep to the announced deployment schedules.
ARCEP stresses the need for local authorities and operators to maintain close relationships with regard to the state of progress and plans for the deployment of the FTTH network in their territory, with an initial progress report in six months.
Finally, ARCEP expresses the greatest reservations about the measures proposed by SFR concerning the modernisation of existing cable networks. These measures concern how HFC cable can be run into premises and what any future relationship between SFR and building owners is to be.