Friday, September 7, 2007

France Telecom's FTTH - La fibre de France Telecom

I recently took a tour of France Telecom's FTTH rollout in Paris and wanted to write about it for a few reasons. It wasn't related to my own fiber plans but there were a couple of inter-related items.

  1. France Telecom is proposing to share the internal fiber wiring it the buildings it connects with competitors as long as they are willing to reciprocate. I spoke with someone before I'd gone and I didn't understand exactly what they were doing until I saw it for myself. FT puts in a cabinet in the basement of an apartment building which holds their passive GPON equipment. All the single fiber lines to apartments come down from the ceiling right beside the FT cabinet where they can easily be patched into the FT equipment (or theoretically a competitors). ARCEP, the regulator here in France, launched a consultation recently on sharing the internal wiring of buildings and France Telecom seems agree with the regulator that this is the best way to avoid having to go down the functional separation route.

  2. A neutral fiber network within the building is not much different than a neutral fiber network in a small residence. At one point I asked one of the FT people if they would consider connecting to a residence that had put it its own fiber. Their unofficial answer was that they likely would. They also explained that they would be particularly interested if there was empty conduit in place where they could blow through their own fiber.

The whole visit pretty much re-energized me for the project because I believe that by putting part of the network in place myself I'll be able to attract operators. The idea of connecting 50 homes may not be a huge draw for them but once the network is in place I plan on making enough noise publicly when I'm looking for operators that it should be in their interest to participate.

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