The universal service of electronic communications is the subject of intense controversy, rural elected officials criticizing Orange for recurring and sometimes prolonged interruptions of telephone service and access to ADSL because of the poor condition of the copper network. LERM deputy Célia Lavergne was commissioned at the end of last year to head a National Assembly working group on this subject. Today, she produced a fairly rich report with ten proposals. One of them would be to create a binding obligation to connect and repair.
Heavier and faster penalties
Connection to a fixed network for a line to be built should be made within four months of the request, two months for an existing line. Concerning service interruptions, the penalties would increase depending on the response time.
The indicators would also be monitored by department and no longer at the national level with global averages. This failed to mask critical local situations. Distinctions would also be made between rural and urban areas within the same department to take into account the specificities of each.
To compensate for the additional cost induced by the shortening of the intervention, the funding will be revised upwards. Célia Lavergne finally deplores the lack of information on the condition of the lines and calls for more transparency on this subject.
Take inspiration from Enedis for more responsiveness
A tree-pruning service could be re-established vis-à-vis Orange with an easement, like what already exists for Enedis. The EDF subsidiary’s electricity rapid intervention force could inspire a telecom equivalent shared between all operators, so as to react more quickly during large-scale climatic episodes.
Ultimately, “A rapid intervention force for the future internet service, which draws service from the two components, telephony and internet, seems necessary”, can we read in the report. A proposal that is all the more judicious given that global warming is already causing the multiplication of extreme weather episodes undermining the poles supporting the copper and fiber lines.
Célia Lavergne is therefore now campaigning for a systematic burial of the network in the RIPs (Public Initiative Networks) of rural areas. It would require “Make a greater financial effort in order to build a more resilient and less expensive network in the long term”. The state could bear part of the costs.
Securing the future of communications
Instead of assigning Orange every three years, it also suggests launching a call for tenders with a nomination procedure for a period ranging from five to ten years. A period that would be justified to secure subscribers, while the extinction of the copper network is already committed to the benefit of optical fiber by 2030.
It also wishes to launch a reflection on the possibility of transferring the ownership of the copper network to the unions of local authorities which would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep. The member finally asks the question of what will become of the copper cables which will be decommissioned. We should anticipate their future to prevent them from remaining in place.
At a press conference where Célia Lavergne was speaking, Secretary of State for Digital Cédric O announced that a government action plan would be announced the first half of next March, in consultation with Arcep, whose President Laure de la Raudière was also present. “We are awaiting Orange’s reaction to these proposals. But we have a collective interest in building the sequel together ”, Celia Lavergne said optimistically.