At a conference organised to present a dedicated barometer produced by Infranum, representatives of the fibre industry and the authorities had reason to be pleased. Indeed, the sector should once again reach a milestone in 2021 with the deployment of 6.2 million connections during the year.
The fibre players have even allowed themselves the luxury of exceeding the government's objectives with forecasts of 87% of homes connected to fibre in 2022 instead of the 80% initially desired by the public authorities.
If the year 2020 had already seen the sector break all records for connections, with 5.8 million sockets installed, the current year is looking even better. And it is on the public initiative networks (RIP) that the sector's professionals have chosen to focus in 2021. Of the 6.2 million outlets expected in 2021, 3.6 million will be located in RIP zones, compared with 1.8 million in AMII zones, 0.5 million in very dense zones and 0.4 million in AMEL zones.
A slowdown is planned for 2022 with the deployment of 5.8 million sockets, the majority of which will still be installed in RIP zones. The result is that while 40.6 million homes will have fibre optic access by 2025, there will still be 6.5 million outlets to be installed between now and 2025 in order to complete the networks.
And this is where the problem lies: "if there are "only" 6.5 million outlets left to be deployed by 2025, these will be the most difficult", emphasise the industry's representatives.
And to point out that 2.1 million premises, i.e. the last 5%, will necessarily have to be financed via substantial public aid... Worse still, 3% of this "remainder to be deployed" will not be able to be deployed, due to technical and financial constraints. "For these homes, it will be necessary to study other avenues, such as satellite internet," says Infranum, which sees the launch of new satellite offers as an increasingly credible alternative for achieving the objective of very high speed broadband for all.
In order to achieve 100% of homes with fibre over the next decade, the sector's professionals are calling for the implementation of a universal fibre service.
But there are also other pitfalls in the provision of high-speed broadband for all. Starting with the quality of connections, where the average failure rate of connections is currently between 20 and 25%. And although the representatives of the sector and the public authorities made commitments a few weeks ago to combat the spread of "noodle dishes" in civil engineering cabinets or within buildings, the result will not be immediate.
Among the burning issues for the sector is also that of employment. What is to be done with the professionals involved in the connection process once it is completed? This question will continue to be asked in the years to come, especially as the sector has recruited 9,700 new employees in 2020, instead of the 5,500 announced last year, and plans to recruit 5,500 in 2021, rather than 1,500.
"Three points must focus our efforts: the transition from copper to fibre, improving the quality of connections and anticipating the post-2021 period, particularly with regard to employment," conceded Cédric O...., the Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, on Tuesday, while welcoming the work carried out so far, noting that "the figures are very good, but we must continue this collective work, because there are still challenges to be met.
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Source : ZDnet