Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Iliad Group' Free Selects Cisco for FTTH in France

The Iliad Group's "Free" broadband service selected Cisco's Ethernet fiber-to-the-home (E-FTTH) technology for a mass rollout in France. Specifically, Free will deploy Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches as the E-FTTH access platform at its new optical PoPs with 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to its core network to make optimum use of the increased capacity provided by the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing Systems.

The first phase of the fiber project aims to connect more than 2 million people in Paris. Free plans to offer a EUR 29.99 monthly bundle that combines 50 Mbps Internet access, high-definition IPTV, video on demand, multimedia communication and Web 2.0 services.


  • In September 2006, The Iliad Group's Free division, unveiled plans for a widescale rollout of FTTH in Paris. The company said the new network will give it true independence from the incumbent operator, France Telecom. The project is expected to take 24 months to reach 2.1 million people.

    Free said it plans to invest EUR 1 billion in the project through 2012. The company initially will target areas were its Freebox installation density is greatest. The Freebox HD's ADSL2+ terminal will be replaced by an optical box. Draka Comteq was selected to supply the FTTH network. The deployment will include two million kilometers of fiber and cable designed to resist the adverse conditions of sewers, through which many of the fiber lines will be deployed.

  • Unlike PON architectures, the network topology will use dedicated fiber from the Ethernet switch to the subscriber.

  • Rights-of-way agreements for Paris were signed in July 2006.

  • As of June 2006, the Iliad Group had 1.9 million ADSL users in France.

  • The Iliad Group also holds a national WiMAX license across France.