Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Upgrading the exchange? / Travail sur notre NRA?

I was doing some research for work on Neuf/Cegetel today and decided to use my phone number as a way to look at the current offers. The site churned for a few seconds and then left this message:
Ligne en maintenance technique France Télécom a lancé une opération de maintenance sur votre ligne. Cette opération vise à déplacer la terminaison physique de votre ligne dans un autre central téléphonique. Lorsque cette opération sera achevée, d’ici une à six semaines, vous pourrez connaître les offres haut débit disponibles sur votre ligne. Nous regrettons cette situation et vous encourageons vivement à revenir tester l’éligibilité de votre ligne dans les prochaines semaines.
In English:
Line undergoing physical maintenance France Telecom has started maintenance work on your line. This operation will change the physical termination point of your line to another telephone exchange. Once this operation is completed in 1 to 6 weeks, you will be able to find out which offers are available on your line. We regret this situation and encourage you to come back and test the eligibility of your line in the next few weeks.
This could be really good news if France Telecom is actually moving our lines back to the exchange in our village. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, we have a France Telecom exchange roughly 500-600 meters from our house but it does not support residential ADSL. It's a small exchange and they've used it essentially to serve business customers. That means that all residential ADSL lines connect to exchanges in neighboring villages which are 4-5 km away - leaving us with very slow broadband.

Our previous mayor struck a deal with France Telecom where the village paid EUR 50,000 directly to France Telecom to upgrade the exchange so people could subscribe to "at least 8 Mbit/s". I thought it would take them a long time to pull off - and we will see. However, the fact that Neuf notified me that the work is in progress makes me think that we could have significantly faster DSL rather soon. This would allow us to finally take advantage of the TV over ADSL packages that many of us are already paying for in our triple-play packages.

Ramifications for the FTTH project:
I'll be the first to say that upgrading our exchange will be great for everyone in the village. At the same time, it may make it a bit difficult to convince people to shift to FTTH. It's a lot easier to sell when people have terrible connections but this just means we'll need to educate people a bit more about the benefits of open-access fiber. I'll still go ahead and put in the fiber in the residence. It may also be an opportune time to talk with the competitive operators before they being installing their own equipment (DSLAMs) in the upgraded exchange.