July 31, 2021

The deployment of optical fiber is driving France towards very high speed

The French Internet quietly moved up a gear at the start of the year. A small majority (51%) of the 30.9 million fixed Internet subscriptions in France in the first quarter of 2021 are at very high speed, according to the latest figures published on Thursday 1is July by the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Arcep). They only represented 17% of this total at the start of 2016.

This rapid growth is essentially the result of the deployment of fiber in the region. Of the 15.7 million very high-speed subscriptions recorded in the country at the start of 2021, 11.4 are end-to-end fiber lines (or fiber to the home, FTTH), which in principle benefit from the best connection speeds. Despite the health crisis, operators recruited new customers for fiber throughout 2020, with nearly one million additional subscriptions every three months.

“Noodle dishes”

Very high speed broadband offers have developed strongly in France in recent years, due to massive investments by operators and public authorities. The “very high speed France” plan launched in 2013 thus provided for an envelope of nearly 20 billion euros over ten years to boost the sector. And it quickly translated into facts: the number of premises eligible for end-to-end fiber thus increased from 5.9 million in 2016 to 25.6 million at the start of 2021. While connections with cable termination coaxial, which offer a more limited performance, began to decline (- 16.5% over one year).

This accelerated deployment of fiber is not always smooth: 20% to 30% of new connections fail

“These figures reflect the appetite of the French for broadband”, welcomes the president of Arcep, Laure de La Raudière. The various confinements and the rise of teleworking may have argued in favor of very high speed, which offers greater comfort in particular for participating in a videoconference or transferring large files.

However, this accelerated deployment of fiber is not always smooth: 20% to 30% of new connections fail. These may be problems related to making an appointment with the technicians responsible for the final connection (calendar error, bad address, etc.), but also technical issues, particularly in the installation of the fiber itself.

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