Monday, July 9, 2007

French civil costs with Vincent MONVILLE / Discussion des coûts civils avec Vincent MONVILLE

I had lunch with Vincent MONVILLE, a French fiber specialist who is a friend of Benoît FELTEN. I met him to talk about general costs and civil works here in France. He's very familiar with providing point-to-point fiber connectivity and clued me in to some of the hurdles I'm going to have to go through. I took notes and even snatched the part of the paper table cloth where he'd drawn some network diagrams.

He broke the network into three geographical parts:

  1. Outside the residence
    This is one of the most complex parts of the civil works to manage bureaucratically. He suggested this is best handled by the operator from whom we eventually purchase connectivity or bring in to provide their own services. In these areas we're also required to dig down the full 60 cm for the trenches.
  2. Public areas of the residence (sidewalks, roads. aggregation point)
    Vincent explained that in a residence I'll probably need to put my request to use the public spaces (and dig the road) to a vote of the residents. That seems natural. I then asked him if I'd need unanimous support from the residents. This could be difficult to obtain after watching some of the debates at the previous association meeting. However, he explained that the process for getting approval is different among associations. In some you only need permission of the "syndic" or president of the association. Others may require a majority vote. Finally, there are some circumstances when we'd have to have all residents in agreement. I'll have to check more on how this works for our own residence. One positive element - we may be able to reduce the depth of the trenches to 15 cm since the residence is private property. That will reduce costs.
  3. Personal property
    Obviously here we'd need permission of every owner before digging in their property. I think most will agree to this, particularly if they're not paying up front. However, there could still be cases where people may decide they don't need fiber and don't want their lawns and gardens touched. This poses a particular problem. In order to attract operators we need to have as many potential clients as possible. Skipping a house with the network (because an owner refuses) will be slightly less costly but also will decrease the incentive for operators. Vincent suggested a work-around here. We could simply put a small drop box in the public portion of the sidewalk in front of their home. As soon as the owner changed his/her mind we could pick up the conduit from there and bring it to the house.

Vincent also explained several steps before the contractors come in and start digging up the road/sidewalk in the residence:

  1. Ask the mayor for a list of network owners
    We need the list of the network owners (electricity, water, sewer, gas, phone, cable) so we can ask them for maps of where their networks are in the area. We'd need to map our own conduit around the existing infrastructure. Vincent explained this was part of a 1991 law I'll have to dig up (so to speak).
  2. Wait four weeks for answers
    The operators have four weeks to answer us with their maps. These will typically come as a PDF or as paper copies.
  3. Present maps and plans to residents
    Once I've mapped out the proposed route for the network I need to present it to the residents. This would show them where we would like to dig in the public areas and on their property.
  4. Notifying existing network owners of the dig
    The company doing the digging has to send a "DICT" to all network owners 10 business days before the work starts. This notifies them that there may be work near their own networks and I assume it allows them to come and ensure their networks remain untouched.

Vincent also gave me a bit of information about the rack I'd need to install and the elements that I'd need to put in it. I'll try to locate this in the public area of the residence which will serve as the aggregation point for the fiber connections.

  • Enclosure: 2m x 60 cm x 60 cm
  • Uninterrupted power supply
  • A fiber entry point
  • The actual switching/termination equipment
  • Batteries

Vincent gave me lots of good advice and suggested I speak next with people who have been doing FTTH projects to see how they would plan out the network. Once I have that information he said he'd be able to give me a better picture of the costs involved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Astounding how you can report a 90 min meeting (with meal !) with so much accuracy ! :-)

The decree (91' law), concerning the DR and DICT is : 91-1147.
The amendment to this decree is : 2006-1537 (art 50)

For more information, please see
This company is specialist about dict management.

Vincent Monville