Thursday, December 14, 2006

France Telecom Plans FTTH Launch in Paris for March 2007

France Telecom has completed early pilot testing of FTTH and is moving ahead with phase two -- with the aim of having 150,000 to 200,000 customers connected by the end of 2008 out of a potential client base of 1 million.

France Telecom now has 100,000 km of fiber installed, agreements signed with 650 tenant associations, 11,500 homes that can now be connected, and 500 customers to date.

The carrier has selected the GPON architecture for its rollout.

A range of consumer services will be marketed under the Orange brand starting in 2007, including Internet access with symmetrical speeds of up to 100 Mbps, several high-definition TV and PC channels, and unlimited VoIP calls.

The Orange FTTH service will be launched in March 2007 in Paris and several neighboring regions, before being rolled out from June 2007 to a dozen large and medium-sized cities, with the first to include Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Poitiers and Toulouse. This phase will enable Orange to further improve its customer experience outside of the Paris region.

CAPEX for the program over the next two years is estimated at EUR 270 million.

"After an initial pilot phase in 2006, the Group is stepping up a gear, increasing the range of very high speed broadband services available with Orange as well as expanding the regional coverage of its network for the future. This new phase will pave the way for the broader deployment of fiber to the home which we foresee in 2009 and beyond, when there will be content and services available which would justify such capacity for many of our customers, said Didier Lombard, FT Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

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