French telecoms operators Orange and Altice France (SFR Group) have inked a new agreement for the deployment of fibre-optic networks in less-densely populated areas of France. Under the updated deal, 13.65 million premises in 3,619 municipalities will be covered by very high speed networks, with Orange having committed to deploy networks in 2,978 municipalities (11.1 million premises), while Altice will be responsible for 2.55 million premises in 641 municipalities.
In November 2011 Orange and SFR agreed to share the work and deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology to around ten million households, with Orange agreeing to provide 80% of the required investment, while SFR was responsible for the remainder. The operators, however, were free to deploy the infrastructure in every area, leading to duplication of fibre-optic networks. This new deal will see the shared deployment of fibre-optic networks for 2.90 million premises that were not covered under the 2011 deal (1.83 million for Orange France and 1.07 million for Altice). A further 700,000 premises will not be subject to network sharing between the two operators as there is no risk of deployment collusion with Altice there, according to Orange. In parallel with this new agreement, Orange and SFR have both pledged to make all their commitments ‘legally enforceable’ in a less-densely populated areas and will face ‘significant financial penalties’ in case of delay.