Optical fiber, operators do not a priori be asked to deploy it in the 106 municipalities in very dense areas. Because the commercial benefits promise to be greater there than in the countryside. The percentage of premises to be connected thus amounted to 85% on average in these territories, according to figures established by Arcep as of December 31, 2020. A satisfactory result but which masks large disparities.
While some large cities, such as Paris, have an envied connection rate of 96% just like Lyon and its 95%, other cities are lagging behind. The latest is Lille with only 46% completeness. Clermont-Ferrand is also late (55%), as well as Rouen (62%), Toulon and Nancy (63%) or even Nantes and Caen (69%), and even Marseille (70%).
However, they are all at the head of metropolises and therefore of considerable political, economic and cultural importance. Some are even prefectures like Lille, Nantes, Rouen and Marseille. They are worse off than Saint-Mandé and its 22,000 inhabitants in the Val-de-Marne with its 96% of eligible buildings.
Here is the detail that Arcep provided to The Indian Paper.com for the 106 municipalities:
A glance at the Arcep mapping tool allows you to visualize the contrasts. When Paris appears completely colored in dark purple, Lille desperately remains in sky blue.
Homes that still only have 8 Mbps of speed
At the beginning of March, Arcep deplored that the good deployment momentum observed at the national level “Still does not translate into very dense areas where the insufficient pace observed in recent quarters continues”.
Of the 28.6 million premises eligible for FttH as of December 31, 2020, 27.7 million are outside very dense areas. In the end, nearly 3% of very dense areas (ZTD), or more than 200,000 premises, still depend on space wireless networks to access a speed of 8 Mbits / s.
The telecoms gendarme calculated that it would take nearly 3 years for optical fiber to be available in all very dense areas. But there is no assurance that this period, however long, will be assured. There is indeed no obligation of completeness in very dense areas for operators. Clearly, they are not required to make all the premises connectable.
Individual housing and poverty
The problem is not new, but it took a long time to be clearly identified because of the difficulty in counting the number of premises whose development is sometimes difficult to follow in urban centers.
In 2019, the Cerema (Center for Studies and Expertise on Risks, the Environment, Mobility and Planning) carried out a small survey to try to find out what conditions favored these pockets. He had spotted two factors. It would seem that what favors the FttH deployment is collective housing. They are indeed easier, faster and cheaper to fiber. Neighborhoods which have individual dwellings would therefore not be treated as a priority.
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The other hypothesis is that the operators would deploy more quickly in the rich communes. We can assume that they intend to achieve a more interesting turnover there.
For this, the public institute compared the poverty rate of INSEE and the FttH coverage rate. He found correlations. “It clearly appears that the poorer the municipalities, the less operators have deployed the FttH network in their territory”, can we read in the contribution of Cerema to a consultation of Arcep.
This may be the case for some towns in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, such as Aubervilliers, Ivry-sur-Seine or Saint-Denis, all below 73% of connectable premises.
Questioned on this subject by the Senators in hearing a few days ago, the president of Arcep Laure de la Raudière deplored the problem by calling on politicians to apply pressure.
“There are pockets in very dense areas that are not covered. But Arcep does not really have the means to be able to act ”, she explained with a certain helplessness.
Some homes in very dense areas could therefore remain excluded for a few years from optical fiber.
Sources: Cerema, Senate, Arcep