French state concludes first assessment of THD plan

15 Feb 2017

France’s Court of Auditors (Cour de Comptes) – a quasi-judicial body tasked with conducting financial and legislative audits – has concluded its first assessment of the France Tres-Haut Debit (THD) plan, which aims to cover 100% of the French population with ultra-high speed broadband services (and 80% of the populace with fibre-optics) by 2022. The Court of Auditors examined 47 territorial projects, covering half of the population and a third of the territory, concluding that the THD plan would cost EUR34.9 billion (USD37 billion), substantially higher than previously thought (EUR20 billion). The authority concluded that the 100% objective would be hard to achieve by 2022 due to insufficient private co-funding, thus recommending that alternative technologies to fibre-optics are introduced, in order to create a cheaper technology mix. In response to the Court of Auditor’s assessment of the THD plan, telecoms regulator Arcep said that the objectives should not be revised downwards as the plan ‘aims to equip the country with its communications infrastructure for decades to come’, adding that all institutions in the state should (as part of their statutory mission) contribute to the modernisation of the country’s digital infrastructure.

France, Arcep