Bouygues Telecom has filed a lawsuit in the Paris Commercial Court against rival Numericable-SFR for breach of contract. Domestic newspaper L’Express reports that Bouygues is seeking EUR53 million (USD60 million) in damages related to a 2009 wholesale contract, under which Bouygues gained access to the fibre-to-the-last amplifier (FTTLa) infrastructure of Numericable-SFR and its subsidiary Completel in order to provide high speed broadband services. A source close to the matter commented: ‘It took them two years to file the complaint. Coincidentally, this procedure comes after the Autorite de la Concurrence approved the conditions for opening up [Numericable-SFR’s] cable network [to competitors]. Bouygues is simply lobbying for lower prices’.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in October 2014 the antitrust regulator granted its conditional approval to Numericable’s proposed acquisition of French telco SFR, on the proviso that the enlarged firm allowed rival operators to access its cable networks temporarily, in order to enable internet service providers (ISPs) to replicate its retail offerings while they develop their own high-speed broadband networks. Pursuant to this commitment, in January 2015 Numericable submitted its first draft reference offer for access to its cable infrastructure, which was subsequently approved by the competition watchdog on 30 July 2015.