I went out to my mailbox today and found a newsletter we receive in the village. It's called "La Parole est aux listes - Journal d'expression des groupes au Conseil Municipal de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche". I always try to read through it and today I was happy to see some attention to the ADSL situations here in St Nom. In this issue the group "Saint Nom Tout Simplement" writes:
Suite à une demande pressante auprès du conseil municipal, Orange a obtenu l’accord d’implanter une antenne relais sur le terrain de football. Nous avions insiste pour qu’en échange et au préalable, la commune obtienne des engagements sur le déploiement de l’ADSL rapide dans la commune (3/4 des foyer sont aujourd’hui limites a 512 kbit/s). Malheureusement, cette facilite a été donnée sans obtenir de contrepartie pour l’accès a internet. Aussi, 4 mois plus tard, Orange revient très dominateur avec une proposition de couverture à 92% de la commune en ADSL rapide, moyennant une participation de la commune estimée a EUR 50k. Et c’est “maintenant ou jamais”. Le pouvoir de négociation a évidemment changé de coté. Quant on réalise que la seule alternative a l’internet 512k dans notre commune, c’est Noos/Numericable…, on comprend mieux l’attitude aujourd’hui intransigeante d’Orange. Dommage!
I'll try to give a quick and dirty translation into English.
Following a request in front of the Municipal Council, Orange received permission to install a relay antenna near the football field in the village. We had insisted that in exchange for permission the commune should have obtained promises that fast ADSL would be deployed in the community (3/4 of homes in St Nom are currently limited to 512 kbit/s). Sadly, the permission was granted without any accompanying promise for Internet access Also, 4 months later, Orange has come back in a very dominant position with a proposition to cover 92% of the village with fast ADSL as long as the village covers half of the cost of the upgrade estimated to be EUR 50,000. They say it is either "now or never". The negotiation power has clearly shifted to Orange. When we realize that the only other alternative to Internet access at 512 kbit/s in our village (it's Noos/Numericable), we can more easily understand Orange's intransigence.
I was happy to see that the broadband issue has been raised to all residences in St Nom through this handout. People do want better broadband. Noos/Numericable may say they are offering 100 Mbit/s but my connection has been off and on for the past 3 days and it will cost me EUR 15 to call them to report it. I'm using my backup ADSL connection for now.
I don't know what the mayor has decided about the EUR 50,000 but I hope he hasn't paid it. They will upgrade the exchange without the money, particularly if Numericable is sweetening their offer.
More importantly, there is another option. Our fiber-to-the-home plan is only for the 50 homes in our small area of the village but we could expand to other areas fairly quickly once we get a fiber line down to the local exchange. Just the fact that we're moving ahead with a fiber plan should hopefully spur Orange into upgrading their own offering here in St Nom.
I find it interesting that for not much more than EUR 50,000, the Mayor and the Municipal Council could run an open access fiber from the telecommunication exchange at the edge of the village all the way to the Mairie. From here different "residences" could tap in and access services from competitive operators over fiber. Orange should not have the bargaining power to demand village money to upgrade their own exchange. They just need some competition.