Pascale Paoli-Lebailly ©RapidTVNews | 24-07-2011

French telcos Free and France Télécom-Orange have signed an agreement to co-finance and develop FTTH fiber optic network outside very dense areas in 2011 and 2012.

The deal with Free covers nealry 60 areas including a total of some 1,300 municipalities with around million homes, will be covered by 2020.

The development results from the third party-operator access offer recently published by France Télécom-Orange regarding the mutualisation of networks outside very-dense areas. Open to all operators, it gives end-users the freedom to choose the service-provider they desire. This first agreement fells within the ongoing high-speed broadband roll-out program announced on February 2011, and on which France Telecom-Orange will spend 2 billion Euros by 2015.

It aims to bring fiber-optic networks to 3,600 French municipalities, covering 10 million households by 2015 and 15 million households by 2020, totalling nearly 60% of French households. Outside the areas defined as “very dense”, this program will cover 3,440 municipalities totalling 11 million homes by 2020 and will include all medium-sized towns in France. France Telecom-Orange is continuing « active discussions with interested operators ».