Skip Navigation

France to spend €20 billion on fibre broadband
Thursday 21 February 2013 15:15:51 by John Hunt

French President Francois Hollande has announced nearly €20 billion (£17 billion) will be spent in France to build high-speed broadband networks in a bid to help spur economic growth. This follows a similar plan proposed by the last President, Nicolas Sarokzy, which planned €4.5 billion of funding, but failed to get off the ground due to a reluctance to invest outside the lucrative big cities. The new proposal will allow operators to share rollout costs in less profitable areas.

The funding announced includes a three way split between network operators, state and local-government, and a mix of local government and network operators. By 2017, 50% of the country will be covered.

The French plans are looking to the future with this likely to be a longer term proposal than we are seeing in the UK. It's not clear how much of the rollout will be full fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) as opposed fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), but when compared to the investment fund of £830m (excluding operators input) here in the UK through BDUK, which is pushing out mainly FTTC, it is likely France will see a large proportion of full FTTH. With this in mind, France will likely exceed the UK's plans for the 'best broadband' by 2015 in Europe shortly after this date. At that point in time, we'll be left without any long term plans going forward.


Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
Surely by 2015, the UK will have recovered from the financial crisis, while France will be pulled deeper into the financial morass of the Euro?

/sarky cynic
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
"At that point in time, we'll be left without any long term plans going forward."

Will we need one? Surely by then everything is place? The vast majority will have access to FTTC, then when the customer outgrows that they can progress to FTTP, all of the framework and hardwork is in place
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
I'm guessing the lion share will be done by France Telecom, which is ~30% government owned...
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
*poof* goes the plan to be the best in Europe... Oh... but we will have some cool trains... Oh hang on... The French already beats us there too...
Posted by pj66300 over 4 years ago
It's worth realising that this 20billion Euros is to be spent over 10 years so that takes completion of the upgrade towards 2023. It does seem however, reading the comment from FT, that the intention is to achieve 100% FFTH by this date. It seems that some of the 10B€ is to come from the tax free savings accounts that French residents hold in their banks.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
France starts from a position of having 2 million homes passed for ftth or fttb
Posted by finaldest over 4 years ago
We will only get FTTH in the UK once the government hand over huge wads of taxpayers money.

It's what BT do best.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Or... you could hand over your own money? Heaven forbid people should actually pay for something to be installed :)
Posted by ccsnet over 4 years ago
Well at least we get a fast train for the whole of the country. What... you say it only serves some areas.... what a good idea. Not.

Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago

um... isn't this what France is doing... giving a major hand out for what appears to be 80-90% of all the costs?
The UK equivalent would be the £15-20Bn than BT said would be needed to FTTH 99.9% of the country.
Posted by finaldest over 4 years ago
BT should invest it's own money as its no longer a public owned monopoly. BT have had more than enough subsidy from the taxpayer.

Posted by callum9999 over 4 years ago
@ccsnet Huh? Either the entire country's rail network should be upgraded to high speed or we should have nothing?

With the ridiculous amount of trouble one line across half the country is causing, do you not think it's rather unrealistic to be doing more than that right away?
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
So EdF fuel prices and EE phone / broadband contracts will be going up to pay for it ?
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago

That's right it is a publicly traded company that seeks the best economic return based on the market. That market does not support a FTTH roll-out in the time frame consumers want, yet are unwilling to pay for.
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
final BT has invested 2.5bn of its own money to do DTTc in commercail deployment which it completes in spring 2014
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
Finaldest this should be FTTC -- finger trouble been a long day !!!!
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
Is the cost of going to full FTTC in Urban areas of the UK going to be that expensive?
Having active equipment distributed around the streets in a non benign environment is costly.
Having large amounts of expensive copper is a lot of capital tied up. Copper in the ground is now at high risk of theft. Stolen copper causes disruption and is expensive to repair. Trying to prevent theft is expensive
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
Potentially a full FTTH network would enable the existing terestril TV network to be discontinued and the frequencies sold off for other purposes

FTTH has the potential to get Homeworking taking off. If a company say has 50% of its staff in the office for only half the week and working from home for the other half you only need half the office space & you halve the commuter traffic. This gives huge savings
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
The vast majority of office based staff don't need FTTH to work from home. The biggest blockers to working from home right now are a lack of IT skills in most companies to be able to implement it securely. My wife works from home fine on a 11/0.7 connection, connecting in to her office via a VPN. Anything faster wouldn't really change things all that much - a 200k document isn't going to come down so much faster on a 300Mbit line that it changes things massively.
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
Of course for some people it will make a difference, but the majority are just working on small documents and spreadsheets, with a bit of printing and emailing.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago

VMs network capital costs for ~50% of the population were of the order of £15BN.
BT originally stated ~£25BN for 99% of the country for FTTH, which it began revising down to ~£15BN as a best case scenario.

Would only work for the back-office element of companies.
Would it properly address regulatory issues for those homeworkers? i.e. Pay insurance, pay for a business package and all call costs. Or would they use it as a method of avoiding paying for
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
@Bob if a company can see sufficient savings they could pay for the FOD connection for the home worker, after all its them that would see the benefit?
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
A fibre transiition plan is needed even if it is set for 25 years time. There is nothing in WLA/WBA reviews or Ofcom action plan 2012/2013 to support even the notion.
Ofcoms enthuasism for VULA, now looks dated for urban areas.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Personally I think BT will look at getting the most of the FTTC as it can through upgrades etc and then when they have got as much as they can out of that product they'll look at bringing the cost of FOD down to attract customers to that product.
Posted by dnla over 4 years ago
Lol ... "Finger trouble" from a "long day" when your the PR man for BT!
Posted by LeJimster over 4 years ago
France sure know how to waste money. It's a fallacy to believe Fibre is going to stimulate their economy, not surprising from a clueless socialist government.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago

It could be looked at as work stimulus, i.e. keeps more people working building it, which avoids paying benefits.
Posted by professor973 over 4 years ago
They can afford it with what they save on soap!
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
Most people don't need huge bandwidth to work from home. You don't even need to transfer documents back and forth - just use RDC to connect to a machine within the corporate WAN. In fact that can be a Virtual Machine running in the data centre. Or even a VM rented off the cloud.

RDC has very low bandwidth requirements - 1Mb/s is more than enough. Our office connection is 4/1 and we have no problems controlling machines in Minneapolis.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
(cont'd) Another advantage of this system is that the data stays within the corporate WAN/LAN. The system can even be locked down to prevent data transfer back to the user's house if required.

I also say that we have three software engineers sharing that 4/1 connection to the office and it suffices just fine for exchange documents and source code and accessing our intranet.

Teleworking doesn't require FTTC, let alone FTTP levels of bandwidth.
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
GMAN99 - You are wrong, and kinda right... If that is what they wanted to do, they would have done it already. BT is happy to sit on the investments they have currently in the network. Think about it... A fiber network is not going to earn them a lot more on subs. They already have the DSL network in place, and have not recouped the costs on that one. They did exactly the same with ISDN. All I am saying is for crying out loud... Skip one step... Go for the new tech instead of the one 6 years old... FTTC is a valid plan, but it should have been done instead of doing ADSL2+ rollout...
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
Defeatist attitude on here. Yes it may be possible to work from home on a 4mbit adsl connection, its far from ideal. As a business owner I would clearly prefer my workers to have a solid FTTH connection than a dodgy slow adsl line, not to mention the faster transfer of files (not all files are 200k documents) and the possibility of video conferencing etc. Then add the job creation for the FTTH work to be done.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
Also that the UK is already hugely behind on working from home takeup, the typical attitude in this country is still if someone gets a job they should be working at the business premises, this is a barrier to working and has higher inherent costs, if the UK continus down this path it will continue to lose business to overseas where working from home is far more popular.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
It isn't needed though chrysalis , many businesses are using platforms like Citrix Xenapp now, its much more secure and the bandwidth requirements are low. No need to transfer files, they all remain central
Posted by jaybs62 over 4 years ago
I live in France (Brittany) and the 'broadband' here is appalling outside of the cities. 2Mb is considered good! Hollande's latest proposal will go the same way as Sarko's, i.e.nowhere. The population is too spread out to warrant fibre (there's no fibre at all in Brittany at the moment), there was some experimentation with WIMAX but this was a failure as well.I now use 2 way satellite, yes it has latency issues but it's 99.9% up and 20Mb+ speed.Better off spending money on setting up low orbit db satellite service IMHO
Posted by NetGuy over 4 years ago
@callum9999 - it's ridiculous to be doing even the one high speed line, in my view, with the limited benefit to those travelling between B'ham and London. More beneficial would be to consider additional capacity on both West Coast and East Coast lines.

Biggest problem is mixing freight with express passenger trains, but it can be done, and shifting freight to trains would help to reduce motorway congestion from part of the freight load, limited in speed as it is.

Posted by NetGuy over 4 years ago
The HST project is plain silly, and possibly driven by a wish to 'keep face' but isn't an essential. Gigabit speeds aren't essential either, but making it possible for most if not all properties to get up to 50 Mbps would reduce the need for some of the commuting which wastes so many hours and costs a lot in both fuel and pollution.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.