Arcep asked to step in as fibre disputes escalate

8 Jun 2011

French broadband service provider Iliad (Free) has lodged its own complaint with the French regulator Arcep regarding alleged difficulties in selling ‘last-mile’ fibre connections offered in apartment buildings by rivals France Telecom (FT) and SFR, Les Echos reports. The move is said to be a tit-for-tat response to similar complaints filed by FT and SFR in March and May, respectively. French law dictates that in highly populated areas, operators are required to allow rivals to access each others’ networks to offer services directly to end users in buildings they have both hooked up with FTTH. However, FT and SFR claim Free is guilty of hampering the process both on technical and practical grounds. Les Echos quotes an unconfirmed source from one of the telcos as saying: ‘We consider that Free’s infrastructure in these buildings was badly built. We have the worst difficulties accessing fibre deployed by Free, which prevents us from selling our services in these buildings’. Whilst SFR apparently has no issues with FT, or vice-versa, it is understood not to have any customers using Free’s fibre-optic service.

France, Iliad (Free), Orange Group, SFR