In Lévis Saint Nom, in the Yvelines department, a team of Orange technicians is working to remove the overhead copper lines in the town. This experiment should prepare the great operation of "decommissioning" of copper that will concern the whole country from 2023.
Drawn from the sixties and especially in the seventies, copper lines have brought telephone service to the French. They then allowed access to the Internet via ADSL technology in the late 90s. In December 2020, Arcep still counted 16 million households using ADSL. A figure that will decline inexorably due to the effect of fiber optic connections. Indeed, the government has set itself the goal of connecting everyone to FttH by 2025.
It was therefore becoming difficult to maintain this aging network, which is energy-intensive and expensive to maintain. With 22.6 million lines still active and 1.1 million cables, 60% of which are in underground trenches, this is a titanic undertaking.
Orange, the historical owner of the copper network, has signed an agreement with Arcep to conduct dismantling tests.
"We chose Lévis Saint Nom to begin with because of its 1,600 inhabitants, its 700 homes and the fact that there are few businesses. This typology is representative of 80% of the communes in France," explains Laurence Thouveny, Director of Orange Île-de-France.
When the "decommissioning" process began in June 2020, there were still 120 copper customers in the commune. Each commercial operator then had to convince its customers to switch to fiber with the guarantee, for those using only the telephone, to have similar tariff offers. Eight subscribers are still clinging to copper, but on March 31, whatever happens, Orange will cut everything.
"There is no technical difficulty with stopping copper. The main issue is to accompany customers and contact them one by one to propose alternative offers," summarizes the technical director and information systems of Orange Marc Blanchet.
The extinction of copper has only just begun and should not be completed before 2030. This long process will be carried out in patches, zone by zone, with extremely long lead times of several years.
Finally, the disappearance of copper does not mean the end of the fixed telephone, which will be able to continue to function via optical fiber, without any obligation to subscribe to an Internet service.
After Lévis Saint Nom, two other cities will be chosen in the coming weeks to continue the experiment.
Source : 01net