Slowly but surely, areas not covered by mobile telephony are disappearing in France. A list of 339 new 4G sites in rural areas was unveiled today by Secretary of State for Digital Cédric O. It is in addition to the 768 pylons already in service since the start of the New Mobile Deal signed in 2018 between operators.
“We now arrive at nearly 3000 pylons designated by decree, so we are in the process of taking a considerable step”, declared Cédric O at the Arcep conference on connected territories this Thursday, April 8. Today, 80% of white areas would be covered and the generalization of 4G where there was 2G is about to be completed.
The rest of the program seems simple: the public authorities identify the faulty points in rural and urban areas and the operators have two years to put their branches into service, by pooling the infrastructures if possible. But putting it into practice is not that easy.
Administrative slowness and hostility of the populations
Cédric O himself recognized the delays in the process. “It always takes a little while. You have to find the land, make it viable, have the authorizations, etc. ”, he nuanced.
Going in this direction, the Secretary General of Bouygues Telecom Liza Bellulo underlined that in rural areas, operators often intervene on protected sites and that it is very difficult to obtain authorizations. Without counting the delays of connection to electricity by Engie.
Operators are ordered to put their antennas into service after two years. “24 months to deploy a site, it’s short and complicated”, denounced the vice-president of Free Maxime Lombardini. “We do not choose the implantation areas and when the coverage arrives, we can find ourselves facing very strong opposition from the population who arrive very late in the system”.
The representatives of the local authorities confessed their dismay in the face of this resistance. “Citizens want the telephone network, but do not want pylons”, explained Yves Krattingert, president of the Haute-Saône Departmental Council. “The mayors ask us (…) and sometimes give up along the way and go back on their authorization”. Turnovers that occur when petitions flourish.
Also to discover in video:
A complicated pooling in the gray area
For Maxime Lombardini, the targeted coverage device would still work very well in white areas. But would be a failure in the gray areas, that is to say those which are poorly covered. Because pooling would be tricky in these territories.
“One after the other, operators are building sites close to sites that already exist because public policy is flawed on the subject”. According to him, it would be difficult to agree between competitors to pool infrastructure. “If we leave the actors between them, not much will happen”, he added, calling for more voluntary commitments from operators. This multiplication of pylons would have a negative impact on several levels. “Each time we install a pylon 35 meters high, it is not very pleasant from a landscape point of view and economically, it is an aberration”.
Liza Bellulo, she insisted on the technical and sanitary obstacles in urban centers. “Pooling is difficult in very dense areas”, she pointed out. It is necessary to find high points that support the 65 kilos of equipment of each operator, but also to respect the limit values of exposure to electromagnetic waves for the inhabitants as the technicians who intervene, even though the equipment is dimensioned for a population. dense. If the conditions are not met, the operators must then give up pooling.
It should be remembered that several thousand sites remain to be deployed over the next four years throughout France to finalize the country’s 4G coverage.