Orange unveiled earlier this year a comprehensive plan to shut down the copper network, which carries ADSL and fixed telephony, by 2030. But the problems remain unresolved.
Many points were discussed during the Very High Speed University, which brought together many digital gamers in Toulouse. In addition to the issues related to the deployment of fiber optics, the issue of the closure of the copper network was also addressed, in particular with the feedback from the first tests carried out by the incumbent operator.
In fact, if the technical cut of the network is to be done from 2024 and this by geographical areas, Orange has begun to completely stop its aging network in 6 test municipalities in 2022 Issancourt-et-Rumel, Vivier-au-Court , Vrigne-aux-Bois, Gernelle in the Ardennes, Provin in the North and Voisins-le-Bretonneux in the Yvelines. The choice of municipalities was motivated by “ the diversity of its configurations: diffuse rural, dense urban, with companies, different infrastructure operators, etc.”, explains Muriel Germa, director of copper infrastructure management at Orange. However, one thing in common: full fiber coverage and many homes already connected.
However, not everything goes as smoothly as one might think. Exceeding 90% of fiber subscribers in these municipalities is, indeed, more complex than expected. A difficulty that is opposed to a precise calendar to be respected in the Orange plan. Muriel Germa explains that “a few months to decide on a new subscription is a long time for an individual and he will decide at the last moment, it is not long for an infrastructure operator“.
Another difficulty lies in knowing the contact details of ADSL subscribers. These are necessary to contact these people and inform them of the necessary transition to fiber optics.”We were able to access this type of information during the transition to DTT, it should be configured for this new project” proposes Fabrice Douez, president of the mixed union of Nord Pas-de-Calais. Also, it’s hard to pressure condos that refuse to sign agreements to bring fiber to the home or put it out front, the digital players don’t really have the ability to change their minds if only through dialogue and education.
The question then arises: who should start the discussion? For Orange, the first contact must be made by the operator that provides the service, but in case of opposition, what should be done? Elected officials will be asked, but their cooperation is not guaranteed. “In Provin there were neighborhood meetings, elected officials were very involved, but we should not expect this to happen everywhere again, in Provin it is going ‘too’ well if I may say so.”, explains Fabrice Douez. The first signs show that other elected officials would not necessarily get involved in the project, proof of this is that two of the 181 mayors refused to be part of the first batch of municipalities to test the industrialization of the copper closure in 2023.
All the more so as elected officials will need to be reassured about the technical problems revealed by the experiments, particularly in terms of quality. The mayor of Venerque, Michel Courtade, pointed out problems related to the stability of the fiber network and the connections made in a hurry “by technicians not trained for the task“. It also raises the issue that residents use only the telephone and not the Internet and do not want to opt for the triple play formula that operators usually offer. There are other special cases, such as alarms that work with copper…
Orange intends, in particular, to prepare a kit made up of an item to personalize and posters to paste with a validation stamp: the “Marianne” of the State. The purpose of the presence of the republican symbol is to differentiate this communication from any other that has purely commercial purposes. The associations of elected officials are also preparing to re-propose the start-up of a national information campaign carried out by the State “with spots on television”, as during the transition to DTT.
This article was taken from the Univers FreeBox website
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