Why does fiber take so long to reach all French homes?

Why does fiber take so long to reach all French homes?

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If the overall plan to install fiber across the entire territory ultimately proved to be a success, it is now beginning to raise the problems previously hidden under the carpet. In the program : lack of funding, potential fines against operators if they do not achieve their completeness goal and infrastructure maintenance that requires billions. In short, the fiber situation in France risks becoming complicated in the months to come.

The very high speed plan losing speed?

Adopted in February 2013, the France Very High Speed ​​Plan (or PFTHD) is a strategy adopted by the Hollande government, the aim of which was to cover the entire territory with very high speed broadband. Initially planned for completion in 2022, it was finally postponed to 2025 given the extent of the project, then 2030 for certain regions such as Brittany.

In just over 10 years, France has succeeded in equipping more than 38 million homes with fiber, one of the best performances in Europe. But this success has so far hidden a predictable reality: 100% fiber is not likely to arrive any time soon.

Fiber deployment in very dense areas and medium dense areas has been either slowed down considerably or stopped altogetherThe general delegate of Avicca (a company which brings together various digital communities) Ariel Turpin is warning today about this end of connection which risks being more problematic than expected.

Since 2017, the alarm has been sounded about the end of the connection. The communities, which started much later, will end up beating the private sector in terms of network completeness.

Fines for incomplete connections?

Arcep, or the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution, has put Orange and SFR on notice in order to push them to complete their commitment. The two operators must thus connect 600,000 homes in medium-sized cities by December 31, 2025under penalty of having to pay a fine.

The problem is that many connections prove particularly complicated to set up. In certain cases, the infrastructure is out of order (broken pole, blocked conduit), and an investment of 1.3 billion euros would be necessary to allow these additional fiber connections. There are approximately 440,000 such cases..

Maintenance that costs billions

In addition to the connection, which should reach 97 or 98% of the territory by 2025 if we are to believe an anonymous sector figure interviewed by Le Figaro, the maintenance of these networks and infrastructures requires the investment of several billion euros. Thus, the federation of digital infrastructures (Infranum – federation of professionals in the telecommunications infrastructure sector) has requested a major plan to guarantee the resilience of networks against problems linked to the climate, various sabotages or even accidents.

This investment requires between 7 and 17 billion euros according to Infranum and the Banque des Territoires, an intermediate scenario of 10 billion euros is currently preferred. Unfortunately, some internet operators are currently showing a certain reluctance when it comes to paying.

Thus, even if the France Very High Speed ​​Plan were to reach 100% in 2025, the subsequent question of maintenance and the billions of euros required to keep the network and its infrastructure in order risks causing a real headache for the authorities in place at the time.

  • 38 million homes have been equipped with fiber in just over 10 years (86% of the territory)
  • Fiber deployment in very dense and medium-dense areas has either been halted or significantly slowed down due to lack of funding
  • Maintaining the already established network could cost 10 billion euros

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