Tuesday, October 23, 2007

France - duct sharing

France Telecom offers to open its ducts to competitors to speed up optical fibre deployment

The Group has asked for reciprocal opening from owners of similar infrastructures

To ensure efficient and fair deployment of new optical fibre networks, France Telecom today announces its proposal to open its ducts to its competitors. The proposal has been officially made to ARCEP, the French Authority on Telecoms Regulation, as part of a public consultation ending in early October. The wholesale offer to use France Telecom ducts will be finalised by the end of 2007.

Access to existing civil engineering structures will 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 optimise the use of the ducts by managing the resources efficiently and avoiding saturation.

France Telecom has also asked ARCEP that the same principle of fair competition be applied to other owners of infrastructures needed to deploy optical fibre. This 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.

The Group firmly believes that this step supports the European Commission and Regulatory authorities' plans to quickly enable fair infrastructure competition, for the benefit of the consumer.

Broadband already plays an important role in the lives of Europeans. Consumers benefit from an increasing range of voice, Internet and television offers. The traffic of digital information exchanged on electronic communication networks looks set to increase strongly over the years to come, with more and more images, better resolution, larger files and more exchanges of data. This trend has already been observed on the French market – one of the most innovative in the field. The deployment of FTTH technologies (fibre to the home) will be needed to respond to the huge demand for bandwidth.

This deployment will require wide and reciprocal access to civil engineering infrastructures so that all the market players can invest and make retail offers to customers under the same conditions. By infrastructure, we are not only referring to telecoms ducts, but also the various similar infrastructures such as those owned by cable operators and local authorities.

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