Technology

Copper shutdown: Orange gives Arcep details of its plan

The site has not yet entered the stage of operation, but is already under close attention of the authorities and participants in the telecommunications market. Orange has clarified some of its strategy to end the copper network by 2030. Arcep posted their response on July 29th.

In a public consultation organized by Arcep, Orange’s main competitors SFR, Bouygues and Free denounced Orange’s lack of transparency and control of the incumbent.

SFR notes, for example, that this large-scale operation requires “full transparency and the necessary support from Orange in the closing procedures.” The Iliad, for its part, fears that Orange will remain “ultimately the sole decision maker” and is campaigning for public authorities to intervene to “keep Orange and, if necessary, the FFT pilot and communicate alone around extinction network that has supported universal service for more than 50 years.”

However, telecom players, including Orange, agree on one thing: this major copper wire project is still closely linked to the massive deployment of fiber in the territory. So, according to Arcep, in the first quarter of 2022, FttH networks covered almost 72% of premises.

January 2026 commercial closure

Orange, in a note to Arcep, reminds that the copper network shutdown will take place in two phases: on the one hand, commercial closure, and on the other, technical closure, which corresponds to the final termination of existing services.

The incumbent operator is currently working on establishing a group of municipalities in which it would like to technically close its local copper loop by the end of 2024.

Orange has announced a commercial closure date of January 2026. However, possible delays are possible: “If the level of achievement of regulatory criteria is not reached in a reasonable manner in any area, Orange will have the flexibility to postpone commercial closure in these areas on a case-by-case basis. on a case-by-case basis, within the framework of the management described above, and without questioning the overall deadline of the end of 2030,” the operator points out. He points out that the speed of FTTH deployment remains the main criterion for evaluating this.

Promote “neutral and institutional” communication

Regarding the specific issue of very dense areas, Orange indicates that “additional coordination with FttH I/O operators will be established.”

Orange also says it has “taken note of the reservations made in the context of the public comment on ZTD’s copper closure.” He considers “it is necessary and expedient to carry out already now the first experiments with technical short circuits in very dense areas.” In addition, Orange is proposing to conduct experiments in Rennes (Île-et-Villain) and Vanves (Hauts-de-Seine) to apply the technical closure there from November 2024.

Finally, to better implement its plan to shut down the aging copper network, Orange says it wants to put forward “neutral and institutional” communication. The operator insists on a message “complementing the messages of the operators, to familiarize themselves with the project of closing the copper network and accompany the population in this process of modernizing the country.” To this end, Orange intends, among other things, to deploy a “communication kit” with the FFT to coordinate actions at the local and national level.

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