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December 17, 2006

France Telecom pushes ahead with FTTH

France Telecom SA is stepping up its deployment of fiber to the home (FTTH), though by allowing other operators to use its access lines it hopes to avoid the regulatory problems that have surrounded the plans of Deutsche Telekom AG, which has insisted on having monopoly access.

By CBR Staff Writer

The company said that the regulatory environment is well on the way to being clarified

It says an early stage deployment phase under its Orange brand name will run from 2007 to 2008, with the aim of having 150,000 to 200,000 customers connected by the end of 2008 out of a potential client base of one million. They will be offered internet access with symmetrical speeds of up to 100 Mbps, several high-definition TV and PC channels, and unlimited calls.

Under a pilot scheme this year, France Telecom says 11,500 homes can now be connected. A total of 500 customers have signed up for the service and while this is only equivalent to a 5% penetration, it says the launch of FTTH compares favorably with the introduction of ADSL in 1999.

France Telecom has chosen GPON (Giga-ethernet Passive Optical Network) technology, which it says facilitates the sharing of the fiber connections at premises such as apartment blocks.

CEO Didier Lombard said the new phase will pave the way for the broader deployment of fiber to the home it plans in 2009 and beyond, when there will be content and services available that it hopes would justify such capacity for many customers.

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