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France: Consensus approach to fibre upgrade August 16, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Regulation.
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[From Global Insight] The French telecoms regulator ARCEP has given its strongest indication yet of how new investments in fibre-optic networks should be handled, in a report to the French Ministry of Finance, La Tribune newspaper reports. Prompted by the ministry, ARCEP suggested in the report that it was difficult to appreciate the long-term return on investment for a nationwide fibre-optic network that could require investments of tens of billions of euro over more than ten years. Specifically, the regulator said it was necessary for everyone to get involved, particularly with helping out on civil engineering works. To achieve its aim, ARCEP wants France Telecom to grant access to all operators on its existing fibre network, at a price that would enable it to amass enough resources to fund investment into a new fibre network.

Commentary: The French authorities appear to favour a consensus based approach to ensure the benefits of fibre investments can go ahead and be realised as quickly as possible. This may be wise move given the recent controversy between the German government and the EC over Deutsche Telecom’s new VDSL network and experiences from Australia where Telstra are unwilling to invest (see previous post).

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