France Telecom Orange to increase fiber network spending in 2012

France Telecom Orange (NYSE: FTE) isn't afraid of broadband competition and its commitment to spend €300-350 million euros ($394 million-460 million) shows that it is ready to fight.

Stephane Richard, France Telecom's CEO said that ongoing fiber buildouts provide it with a weapon to compete with a crop of savvy broadband competitors like Iliad and Free.

Some analysts, according to a Reuters report, have expressed concern that the telco's fiber network investment could be compromised by Iliad's move to offer a new low-cost mobile service.  

Richard dismissed such concerns.

"The arrival of a new competitor in the mobile market a few weeks ago will not call into question our dedication to invest in fiber," said Richard. "I will protect fiber in our budget because it's crucial to our future competitiveness."

Augmenting its own €2 billion ($2.7 billion) plan to build out its Fiber to the Home network to an initial 10 million homes by 2015, the incumbent provider has struck fiber sharing agreements with its three main competitors Bouygues Telecom, Free and SFR.

Set on serving mid-sized cities and rural areas, the telco said the pact with these service providers will help it advance rollout times and reduce costs.   

For more:
- Reuters has this article

Related articles:
France Telecom sets ambitious FTTH goal of 15 million homes passed
France Telecom strikes FTTH network pact with Bouygues Telecom
France Telecom injects Alcatel-Lucent's 100G optical system into key network routes
France boasts 22M copper, fiber-based broadband connections

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