Orange to invest 2 billion EUR in fiber network in France by 2015

Following the clarification of the regulatory framework for the deployment of very high-speed broadband, Orange is satisfied that the conditions are now in place for a resumption of its investment in fiber, according to a company representative.

FEBRUARY 10, 2010 -- Following the clarification of the regulatory framework for the deployment of very high-speed broadband, Orange is satisfied that the conditions are now in place for a resumption of its investment in fiber, according to a company representative. Orange plans to invest roughly 2 billion EUR between now and 2015 in FTTH in very dense areas of France, as well as in other dense areas.

The group already invests almost 3 billion EUR each year in its network and infrastructure, says a representative. With this new program, the group is not planning any substantial change to the amount that it will invest in France, where a large proportion is, and will continue to be, allocated to the modernization and maintenance of its network and service infrastructure.

This program will benefit from the lessons learned during the group’s pre-deployment phase, which was carried out in conjunction with other operators and overseen by ARCEP since 2007. As of September 30, 2009, 33,000 customers were subscribing to Orange fiber services in France.

In very dense areas, deployment will resume in the nine agglomerations already covered, as well as in the Paris region. This deployment will also extend to new cities, such as Cannes, Montpellier, Orleans, Rennes, Strasbourg, and Toulon.

Orange also plans to invest in dense areas (zone 2). A test phase will be carried out in Chatou (Yvelines) and Oullins (Rhône) before a wider deployment in six towns from 2010: Brest, Dijon, Le Havre, Pau, Reims, and Valenciennes.

Orange is also open to different forms of co-investment with other operators in zone 2. A agreement has been signed with SFR to carry out operational tests in Palaiseau and Bondy. Discussions are also being finalized to extend this agreement to Free and a third town. This agreement may be opened up to other operators.

Orange aims to be present in all regions of mainland France, in around 45 agglomerations, by 2012, and in all departments of mainland France and in three overseas departments by 2015.

For less dense areas (zone 3), Orange is also open to partnerships with local authorities in order to accelerate the deployment of fiber, if the regulatory context makes this possible, through an intermediary stage based on ramping-up speeds on the existing network.

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