France has one of the largest broadband subscriber bases in Europe. Growth in recent years has been bolstered by demand for high bandwidth services, which has prompted considerable investment in fibre infrastructure among telcos and regional governments. This has been supported by regulatory measures which have promoted access to Orange's copper and fibre infrastructure for new entrants, as well as a national broadband program which involves an investment of more than 20 billion. Of this sum, telcos are commercially responsible to building out infrastructure affecting almost 60% of the population, with the balance to be covered by local government initiatives at cost of about 14 billion. Progress in deployment has been rapid, while the take-up rate among consumers has also increased substantially.
DSL still dominates the broadband market in terms of access lines, though the number of DSL lines is falling as customers are migrated to fibre infrastructure. Fibre deployments have grown substantially in recent years, with all of the major ISPs concentrating their investments in fibre with a view to promoting 1Gb/s services. Although the cable footprint only reaches about 40% of the population, the dominant cableco SFR Group has upgraded its network to compete with DSL and has itself entered the DSL and fibre markets. SFR intends to provide national fibre coverage by 2025.
This report assesses France's fixed broadband market, focussing on cable, DSL and the fast-developing FttP/C sectors. It reviews the strategies of the principal providers such as Orange, Iliad and SFR Group, and considers the regulatory status of LLU and access to fibre infrastructure.
Government proposes new measures to fill gaps in broadband availability; SFR increases footprint of its 1Gb/s FttP service; broadband subscriber growth remains strong at 5%; Orange extends reach of vectored DSL; DSL subscriber base begins to fall; cable sector accounting for 5% of broadband market by subscribers; success of fibre co-investment deals among operators; report update includes the regulator's market data to September 2017, operator data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.