France makes good progress with fibre

France had over 170,000 very high speed subscribers at the end of 2008, out of 20,500 buildings equipped with fibre and connected to at least one operator's network, according to the latest quarterly report by regulator Arcep.

Some 40,000 FTTH households subscribed and 130,000 hybrid fibre-coaxial subscribers: the 20,500 buildings house 550,000 homes that have the services available to them.

Operators began deploying fibre on public land more than two years ago. At the end of last year, deployments had been made in 40 cities or urban areas.

France Telecom is present in around 40 municipalities. Numericable has replaced coaxial cable with fibre in around 30 cities or urban areas, while SFR and Free's deployments are mainly in areas where the operators have found alternatives to France Telecom's civil engineering infrastructures.

Arcep estimates that at the end of 2008, between 3 million and 4.5 million homes were located near a fibre optic network.