Free first to joint France Tel fiber scheme

France Telecom is pressing on with fiber deployment plans to rural parts of the country, agreeing its first deployment deal with a carrier through a deal with rival Free.
The agreement covers rural FTTH deployments that are due to commence later this year and run through 2012. The rollouts form part of a €2 billion investment in by the French incumbent, which aims to cover ten million addresses with fiber optic access by 2015.
At its simplest level, Free has signed up to help deploy high-speed networks using France Telecom’s existing FTTH infrastructure in non-urban areas. The agreement is the first France Telecom plans with rival carriers to help meet its goal of covering five million homes in towns and villages by 2020.
French regulator ARCEP set out the framework for delivering FTTH access to non-urban areas in January. The regulator is targeting coverage of 11 million homes in small towns and villages alone by 2020.