Orange to equip 5,000 telephone exchanges in France with VDSL2

Orange (NYSE: ORAN) said during a recent meeting with France's telecom regulator Arcep that it plans to deliver VDSL2 broadband services out of about 5,000 of its central offices (COs), serving over 60 percent of the country's population.

But since the higher speeds will only be available to those homes that are located less than 1 km from the CO, service coverage will reach only 16 percent.

The reach of the VDSL2 network, according to a report in Les Echos, could rise to 25 percent depending on regulatory conditions.

Despite the advertised promise of VDSL2, which is based on a hybrid copper/fiber network architecture, Orange's competitors such as SFR say that they need to make it clear that the speeds will be far below what can be offered on a fiber to the home (FTTH) connection.

"VDSL2 deployments will necessarily have an impact on the deployment of optical fiber, because they create confusion about commercial messages in the minds of both potential subscribers and investors must therefore be reduced to a minimum, otherwise the business model of the fiber will be sealed," said Olivier Henrard, general secretary of SFR.

FTTH may offer the higher speeds to homes and businesses, but according to a recent Point Topic report hybrid copper/fiber-based VDSL and VDSL2 grew 27 percent overall, while FTTH grew 3 percent in 2012.

Although it is making progress with its VDSL2 plans, Orange is just as bullish about FTTP.

This April, Orange and SFR signed a new agreement with France's central government and Ile-de-France region to bring fiber to the home to major Paris suburbs by the year 2020. Earlier, it launched a broader plan to bring fiber to 3,600 municipalities by 2015, providing service to 10 million households by 2015 and 15 million by 2020.

For more:
- Les Echos has this article (in French)

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