This week, the Arcep unveiled its assessment of fiber optic deployments in the second quarter. And even though the milestone was reached under difficult containment conditions, half of French homes are now eligible for fiber optic cable. In fact, 1.2 million new lines were deployed between April and June. Fiber optic coverage of the territory is progressing at a "high rate", even if "the health situation related to Covid-19 has not allowed operators to continue the significant acceleration observed at the end of last year".
Despite severe restrictions due to the health crisis, work continued at a rate equivalent to that at the beginning of the year: around 400,000 lines per month. The equivalent of a town like Nemours or Granville... every day.
This dynamic allows us to calmly envisage the "five million new lines" in 2020 predicted by Minister Cédric O. If this pace is maintained for another two years, the executive will have kept its promise to bring fiber to 80% of French homes by the end of 2022.
However, the Arcep is showing its vigilance in one particular area: medium-sized cities. Indeed, in 2018 Orange and SFR made a commitment to the government and the regulator to cover them entirely with optical fiber by the end of 2020. And with 10.5 million connectable lines, they are still a long way off. Orange covers only 67% of households in the municipalities to which it has committed and SFR 75%.
In theory, they have nine months left to complete 5.5 million lines - an almost impossible task. Arcep's only concession: the deadline can be postponed by three months following the health crisis, as provided for in the government order on the extension of deadlines linked to the coronavirus. Even with this additional quarter, "the pace of deployments will be critical over the next few quarters and the Arcep will continue to be attentive to the efforts of operators", writes the Telecoms gendarme, who clearly has no intention of slackening on the subject.
Source : Les Echos
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