Agreement between France Telecom - Orange and SFR on optical fibre: a decisive step forward.

Paris, 15 November 2011

ARCEP welcomes the major agreement that was made public this morning by France Telecom and SFR, concerning the deployment of optical fibre across the country outside of very high-density areas.

This rollout programme concerns 11 million households located in some 3,500 municipalities spread out across the whole of France.

Rollout operations will begin in all of these municipalities between 2012 and 2015, and will be completed by 2020 at the latest - at which point, if we include rollouts in very high-density areas, around 17 million households (or 60% of all French households) will be eligible to subscribe to a fibre-based access solution.

The remaining 40% of households will be passed for fibre starting in 2012, through deployments performed in tandem by local authorities and operators. These deployments will require local, national or European public financing.
In accordance with the framework set by ARCEP, both carriers - France Telecom back in July and SFR last week - have published wholesale offers that will allow all of the other public and private sector players to have access to their networks. Free already signed an access agreement with France Telecom this past July.

ARCEP considers that the framework governing fibre rollouts that it has put into place, in accordance with the law, is both effective and suited to national circumstances. It will allow the entire population to have access to ultra high-speed internet connections in the near future, thanks to optical fibre and to new fourth-generation mobile networks for which licence awards will be completed in early January 2012.

Compared to the other large European countries, France already has one of the highest percentages (20%) of homes passed for ultra-fast broadband. And, thanks to the joint actions of public and private sector players, it also has the most detailed and ambitious investment schemes in this area.