French telecoms operator Orange has reportedly revealed that rival SFR Group (previously Numericable-SFR) filed a lawsuit against it over fibre-optic network coverage, Reuters reports. According to a report published by domestic newspaper Les Echos, SFR wants a bigger share of the fibre-optic network deployment than the two sides agreed upon in November 2011. A spokesman for Orange reportedly said that the legal action was unexpected, as the agreement between the two operators about their respective shares in the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network had already been approved by the regulator and the government.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Orange and SFR agreed to share the work and deploy FTTH technology in nearly 3,000 municipalities (around 14 million households), with Orange agreeing to provide 80% of the required investment, while SFR was responsible for the remainder. Following the Numericable-SFR merger, however, the telco proposed that it should cover remote areas, which were not scheduled for fibre deployments at the time, to avoid duplication with its cable infrastructure. Indeed, in July 2015 the country’s Competition Authority (Autorite de la Concurrence) lifted a restriction which prohibited Orange from deploying FTTH networks in the areas reserved for SFR. It is understood that Orange had since taken on 90% of the co-investment, while SFR’s share had fallen to 10%.