Canal+ fibre internet rollout hits regulatory blockage in Benin

13 Oct 2016

The local Beninese ISP subsidiary of the French-owned Canal+ pay-TV group has been ordered by the state authorities to halt the deployment of fibre-optic infrastructure for its planned high speed internet access service in the Republic’s capital Cotonou, apparently for failing to comply with licensing regulations, reports Jeune Afrique.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in January 2016 Canal+ struck a deal to operate internet access services via the network of the Beninese Electric Power Company (SBEE). The agreement provided for the operation of internet infrastructure by Canal Box Benin, which TeleGeography noted is registered as a Beninese ISP under the name Espace Informatique Benin (EIT), although it appears that its current infrastructure deployment activities may not be covered by its existing licensing. Canal+/Canal Box Benin acquired the assets of EIT in February, although Jeune Afrique’s report claims that the French-led group has run into problems by failing to comply with Benin’s current telecoms legislation adopted in July 2014, and has instead ‘followed the previous guidelines, dating from 2002.’

The new Canal Box internet service is intended to be rolled out across the capital before a potential expansion to other areas, with the CEO of Canal+ declaring that: ‘Our ambition is to mesh the entire city of Cotonou, and gradually, a fibre-optic network that will enable end users to benefit from very high speed internet,’ whilst citing the example of successful powerline communications (PLC) internet services in Brazil as a precedent.

Jeune Afrique adds, however, that following an agreement with SBEE to initially deploy 120km of aerial optical fibre on the utility firm’s electricity poles in Cotonou, only 50km was installed by August before the government ordered a shutdown of the operation.