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Altice-SFR to fibre France without public money

July 14, 2017

By Colin Mann

French telco Altice-SFR has revealed plans to fibre the entire French territory with no public money, which it says will make it possible to achieve the French President and Government’s goal of giving access to high-speed broadband throughout France.

Altice-SFR’s contribution to the State’s deployment programme is reflected in the creation of Altice Infrastructures, a company devoted to the deployment of fibre, and two commitments by Altice that meet the expectations of local authorities: 80 per cent of the country fibred by 2022 and 100 coverage by 2025.

Following the inter-ministerial meeting of July 7th, during which the Government requested concrete and uninhibited proposals from operators, Altice-SFR set out its contribution to the Prime Minister and the public authorities, responding to the State’s challenge of proposing a new model of wholly-private investment, without any public subsidy.

The creation of the Altice Infrastructures deployment company will allow the deployment of fibre throughout the country. Work will begin in September 2017, with the first homes set to be fibred in the autumn of 2017. For the State and the local authorities, the Altice-SFR proposal will solve two problems in particular: Delays linked to the complexity and lack of impact of the current arrangements, and the “explosion” of public expenditure pointed out by the Court of Auditors.

This fully-funded company will be responsible for deploying this network, which will be open to all other operators who wish to do so on pre-agreed terms.

Thanks to its international experience with similar deployments in Portugal (100 per cent of the territory) and in the US in the 21 states where the Group operates, Altice says it has developed a unique approach to cost control and has set up, similar to what has been done in the mobile sector in France, a real production line of end-to-end deployment. Altice also secured a few months previously its fibre supply and deployment capabilities with the integration of a technical partner, Altice Technical Services.

Altice-SFR points out its commitment to the financing of superfast broadband since 2015, with more than €2 billion invested each year in the deployment of the superfast fixed and mobile broadband. With nearly 10 million fibre connections and the largest 4G coverage of the territory, according to telco watchdog ARCEP figures, Altice-SFR says it is moving up a gear. Altice will also make additional proposals for mobile coverage beyond its current commitment of 90 per cent coverage of the population in 2017 and 99 per cent by the end of 2018.

“Faced with a system that has become obsolete, Altice-SFR is taking the initiative to fibre all of France with no public money whatsoever,” declared Michel Paulin, CEO of SFR. “This contribution to the Government’s project for high speed broadband represents a major breakthrough which will see Altice’s technical expertise and commitment to the financing of very high-speed networks in France and in the countries where we are present. We will start the deployment in September, which will enable us to meet the Government’s objective without any additional subsidy.”

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