France Telecom will bring fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to over 15 million households in France by 2020, and the company hope to reach 10 million by 2015. Two billion Euros of investment between 2010 and 2015 will allow it to reach this target which equates to almost 60% of households by 2020. The network will span over 3,600 French 'communes' and will include all large and medium sized towns and cities.
Areas not to receive fibre-to-the-home will get an intermediary solution such as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) or satellite based broadband through cooperation with local authorities to ensure that all areas are connected to faster broadband.
"I am very pleased to be able to reaffirm and even reinforce our ambitions regarding very high-speed broadband networks as part of a drive to provide the entire French population with access to high-quality digital services. This commitment clearly illustrates the new dynamic that Orange has embarked upon since the launch of our Conquests 2015 project. To achieve this ambition, we have mobilized our staff and our expertise as a network operator with a view to consolidating our market position in France and making the most of the growth potential that this network can offer for the year's to come. This will be done within a spirit of openness with regards to our environment and to other operators."Stéphane Richard, (Chief Executive Officer) France Telecom-Orange
This news from France may make some wonder why in a much larger country such as France, a smaller investment (€2 billion) when compared with BT's investment (£2.5 billion) will breed much more fibre-to-the-home coverage than we will see here in the UK. BT made a commitment to reach 2.5 million homes (10% of households) with FTTH by 2012 and cover 66% of the country with a combined FTTC/FTTH network, although the majority of that will still connect using copper phone lines to cabinets. The French obviously understand the advantages of deploying fibre direct to homes through their commitment to do this and it is interesting that they can achieve this at a much more affordable cost than we can in the UK.