Friday, February 29, 2008

Breakthrough: Who owns the conduit? - Qui est la proprietaire des fourreux?

I stayed after the FTTH Council Meeting ended to talk to with some vendors about equipment and a friend introduced me to ACOME, a French infrastructure company which does fibre, conduit, etc. They were all getting ready to celebrate the end of the conference - unpacking the champagne from the back room of their stall - but were nice enough to talk with me and give me some advice.

I was interested in the costs of conduit and fibre but the person I spoke with (Arnaud PARIZET) wouldn't discuss anything more than whether there were existing ducts in my residence that I could use and if those ducts still had any sort of pull cables. I pulled out my computer and we took a look at the photos I posted earlier when we opened up one of the boxes.

We couldn't see much on the screen but I left the exhibition thinking that I needed to gather a bit more information. I was also very glad to see the comment from Vincent giving a bit of information about sharing ducts. It means there is still a possibility of using existing ducts and conduit for all the fibre runs - particularly all the way to the exchange which would reduce the EUR 40,000 estimate for that installation.

The breakthrough happened last night when I went home and is thanks to my wife leaving the parking lights on in the car by accident. I noticed them when I walked in the door but forgot to go back out and turn them off. One of the long-time residents drove by, pulled over his car and rang the doorbell to tell us the lights were on. He is the person who helped me open the cover of the box in his driveway to take the picture so I explained where I had been during the day and said I wanted to open up the box again this weekend and take another look to see if there was space.

That's when he said there would be plenty of space because we could simply take out the cabling inside that is no longer used for an old shared antenna in the residence! I hadn't even considered that. Apparently all the houses were connected to one centralized antenna perched somewhere in residence. However, he said that antenna was taken down in 1991 but the cables were all left in the existing conduit - the same one used by France telecom! That's great news for a number of reasons. First, it's not clear to me anymore that the conduit is even France Telecom's to begin with in the residence if there is a second set of cables for the old antenna system inside. That means we may not need permission to put our own fiber in. Second, those cables are no longer used so we could probably pull them out when we install the fiber. In some cases they could probably act as the pull cable as well!

This is great news and I'll go and take a new look inside this weekend and post the results.


Anonymous said...

If your residence is a private property and was built after 1969, the conduits are yours, not France Télécom's, except if a special contract was signed to give them to FT.

Tad said...

Thanks for the note. The residence is a private property and the houses were first sold exactly in 1969 so I'm not sure exactly where we stand in terms of ownership.

There are two things that make me think we own the conduit and boxes. First, they are located in the driveways of the houses - not the street or sidewalks. Second, they are not typical France Telecom boxes in the ground you see in other parts of the village.

I'll do a bit of asking around this weekend to see if I can find out more information.

Stéfan (groupe aménagement numérique) said...

I don't remember if this has already been discussed on this blog, but if using the ducts is too complicated (for technical or economic or legal reasons), you could also have a look at solutions using the sewer system, like EasyFiber (official site ; photos of a demo of the process).

Tad said...

Thank you Stéfan. The ducts shouldn't be a problem within the residence. There is plenty of space and we are fairly sure that we own them - not France Telecom. However, where we may need some innovative ideas is how to get out of the residence and down the 500 meter stretch to the exchange. That's where using the sewage system such as EasyFiber may be more cost effective since we'd have to be digging up the town's roads.