Monday, October 22, 2007

France Telecom Offers to Open its Fiber Ducts to Competitors

France Telecom announced a public proposal to open its ducts to its competitors on a wholesale basis. Access to France Telecom's existing civil engineering structures would include all information relevant to operators (maps, chamber locations, etc.), enabling them to install their own FTTH network by applying appropriate engineering rules. These rules will be designed to optimize the use of the ducts by managing the resources efficiently and avoiding saturation.

France Telecom's was officially made to ARCEP, the French Authority on Telecoms Regulation. France Telecom has also asked ARCEP that the same principle of fair competition be applied to other owners of infrastructures needed to deploy optical fiber.

France Telecom said a reciprocal opening will allow a fair and regulated framework to be defined based on the principle of non-discrimination between operators, while enabling the emergence of real platform competition and new user experiences.

  • In December 2006, France Telecom completed early pilot testing of FTTH and announced plans to move ahead with phase two of its rollout -- 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. At the time, France Telecom said it had 100,000 km of fiber installed, agreements signed with 650 tenant associations, 11,500 homes that can now be connected, and 500 customers. The carrier has selected the GPON architecture for its rollout.

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

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