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France tries again, with EU20 billion broadband fund

'Terminate the copper' says Hollande

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French president Francois Hollande wants to take the cable-cutters to the country’s copper, announcing EU20 billion ($AU25 billion) worth of broadband funding to be spent over the next ten years. His aim is to bring universal fibre-based broadband to the country.

The cash-strapped government won’t be providing all the investment itself. In a speech delivered at Clermont-Ferrand last week, Hollande explained that one-third of the funds will be provided by carriers to service high-density areas; carriers and communities are expected to partner to fund rollout in medium-density regions; and the national government will dominate funding for rural areas.

Around half of the EU20 billion will come from the government, he said, with the government to create an institution to coordinate the rollout and the finances.

If delivered on time, 50 percent of France will be covered by the new rollout in five years, and the project would be completed in ten years, according to ITesspresso.fr (translation here).

Reuters notes that a cheaper (EU4.5 billion) plan announced by Nicholas Sarkozy as a post-crisis stimulus package “never got off the ground” because carriers were reluctant to spend outside the cities (hence the EU12 billion of the fund devoted to extending the networks’ reach).

ITespresso.fr quotes Hollande as saying “Nous devons en terminer avec le réseau de cuivre et installer partout la fibre optique” – roughly, “We must end the copper network and install the fibre everywhere”. ®

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