Yesterday, french telcos Orange and SFR announced their co-investment on two suburban towns in the "Greater Paris" (french joke) area, to roll-out FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home. They also announced the possible creation of an open joint-venture that would serve as operators' s operator for medium dense areas.
Of course, this is a smart move, considering the Fiber-Broadband plan to be unveiled by the government on Monday the 18th of January. No need to sport an MBA to understand that France Telecom and SFR have set up a nice trick to get public funding in order to build their own next-gen access networks.
Now, it may be useful to get back a few months ago, and read this post and this one written by Jean-Michel Soulier, CEO of french-canadian operators' operator Covage. Here's what Jean-Michel proposed before the whole attendance at the yearly forum held by Regulator ARCEP last September.
- the territory could be split in 4-5 segments representing approximately 1m households each in semi-dense areas (this assumes that private initiative will cover dense areas, which according to operator Free is easier said than done).- a national consortium would be set up with the largest operators and the French national bank CDC. The consortium would in turn establish a subsidiary in each of the territorial segments. - In each segment, a neutral operator would be selected for the deployment and operation of the FTTH network, in association with the local communities willing to participate in exchange for some ownership in the network. - the large operators, as members of the national consortium, would commit to use the consortium's FTTH lines in order to guaranty the business case and the ability to raise additional financing.
That is a simple plan, quite easy to implement, and above all: it ensures Open Neutral Access.
Which Orange-SFR public-money-vacuum-cleaner new venture surely won't.