Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Free's FTTH Plans in France

Free has given an update on its FTTH plans. It stated that there are three rationales for FTTH:
  • Improved consumer experience based on higher data speeds, better HD support and improved ability to support multiple TVs, and the high satisfaction level of Free's existing FTTH subscribers.
  • Technology improvements that provide higher quality and higher satisfaction with the service.
  • Spending on CapEx for deploying fiber rather than OpEx unbundled loop rentals to France Telecom, lower churn and increased ARPU, and future proofing the network.
Free pointed out that it has spend 1.06 billion euros of CapEx on unbundling that includes equipping 1,500 COs with DSLAMs and creating a 33 thousand km back haul network in order to support 2.3 million unbundled subscribers.

The company plans to spend 1 billion euros between now and 2012 to pass 4 million homes with fiber services by 2012. This will significantly reduce its dependence on France Telecom's network.

Free is also hoping for favorable regulatory rulings in France that will provide access to France Telecom's ducts along with a new law in 2008 that will regulate vertical deployment and building access.

Free expects to pass 70 percent of the homes in Paris by the end of 2009 using point-to-point active Ethernet technology. It also expects to pass 300 thousand additional homes in the rest of France including rollouts in Montpelier, Valenciennes, and the Paris suburbs.

Free has an aggressive FTTH plan in France and seems to be leading the market at this time. I believe that this investment will pay great dividends for the company. It is quite interesting to see that its FTTH investment is quite in line with its ADSL investment.

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