Orange France and rival telco SFR have signed a joint agreement with the authorities of the Lille Metropole, one of the largest metropolitan areas in France, to deploy fibre-optic broadband access infrastructure in both high- and lower-density areas. The deal builds on a previous agreement signed on 15 November 2011, and will allow for the deployment of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in all 85 municipalities of Lille Metropole. In ‘very dense’ areas, with population density sufficient for infrastructure competition, each operator will deploy its network independently; beyond very dense areas, Orange France will deploy its FTTH network in eleven of Lille’s municipalities, while SFR will roll out services in 70 municipalities. Currently, Orange France’s network covers 115,000 homes, with 45,000 households in eight municipalities already connected. For its part, SFR’s infrastructure passes 114,000 homes, with 34,000 households being linked.
Lille Metropole, which is the fourth largest Metropolitan area after those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille, consists of 50% rural communities; around 24 of the towns in the area currently do not have access to broadband internet. With the commitments made by operators under the ‘Mission France Very High Speed’ programme (launched in May 2013), every inhabitant of Lille will be connected to a FTTH network by 2020.