France to plough EUR20bn into fibre broadband networks

22 Feb 2013

France plans to invest nearly EUR20 billion (USD26.5 billion) of public and private funds in the rollout of high speed broadband networks over the next decade in a bid to spur economic growth, Reuters reports. ‘High speed broadband will strengthen the competitiveness of our companies and the quality of our public services,’ President Francois Hollande said in a speech outlining the plan, adding: ‘It is an opportunity to preserve and develop employment.’ Three tranches of more than EUR6 billion each will fund the planned network rollout; one from network operators, another from a mix of operators and local government, and the last from state and local-government money. By 2017 – the end of President Hollande’s first term – 50% of the country is scheduled to be covered under the plan, which allows operators to share rollout costs in less profitable areas.