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Fiber: Communities in less dense areas are sounding the alarm


If the fiber project is progressing at a brisk pace, the deployment of very high speed is lagging behind in a certain number of territories, mainly located in rural areas or on the outskirts of large agglomerations. The problem is not new and owes in particular to the many problems encountered by companies or individuals in their fiber connection, a “black spot” which is currently the focus of all criticism.

What lead the Avicca (association of cities and communities for electronic communications and audiovisual) and the representatives of the communities concerned to sound the alarm. And to point the finger at the current system of subcontracting, managed according to the STOC mode (for “subcontracting to the commercial operator”). While internet service providers (ISPs) indicate that they ensure the connection of their subscribers by carrying out all the technical operations themselves, “in reality, they are entirely subcontracted without control, poorly remunerated and for some carried out in despite the rules of the art and the safety of people”, regretted this Monday the representatives of 28 communities representing 14 million inhabitants.

And if the stakeholders in the deployment of fiber on the territory have made new commitments in 2021 to improve the connection to the fiber, “one year after the entry into force of this contract and despite the repeated concerns of the State , Arcep and communities, we are forced to note that the situation is not improving on our networks”, note the latter, figures in support.

Excess subcontracting

For them, excessive subcontracting leads to a loss of information that is detrimental to the resolution of problems encountered in the field. 85% of the intervention reports transmitted at the end of each connection would thus simply not be usable, thus leaving the door open to all abuses, unsanctioned, because they cannot be controlled. “Technical cabinet doors forced or torn off, connection boxes left open in the rain, disconnected customers, poor workmanship at subscribers”, represent, for the representatives of the communities, as many tangible manifestations of these errors.

After having repeatedly denounced the bankruptcy of the STOC mode, the latter now say they are ready to take, if nothing is done by the end of May, “any measure likely to significantly and sustainably improve our ability to preserve the integrity of the common good constituted by the new fiber optic networks of our territories”. And require Bouygues Telecom, Free, Orange and SFR to take concrete measures to improve the final fiber connections by “tightening the screw” of their subcontractors.

How? ‘Or’ What ? By providing, for example, “subcontractor intervention schedules to be in a real capacity to ensure compliance with safety rules”, or by conditioning “payment to the operator for the service of connection to the transmission a complete and usable intervention report, guaranteeing the control of the conformity of the connection”.

Operators promise the best

Operators seem to be aware of the problem. This is particularly the case of Orange, which at the end of last year carried out a broad review of the workforce among its service providers, not hesitating to sever its ties with certain historical partners, such as Scopelec. After losing 65% of its contracts with the incumbent operator, the largest cooperative in France recently announced that it will sue the telecom giant for “sudden termination of the commercial relationship”.

As a reminder, Orange had justified the partial non-renewal of its partnership with Scopelec by a deterioration in the services provided by the cooperative. “After several warnings in recent years, the quality of the services offered by certain current service providers, including Scopelec, which has received several dozen formal notices due to breaches in certain territories, has led Orange to review the allocation of the areas entrusted to everyone, “argued the operator’s management at the end of last year.

More generally, the actors in charge of the deployment of the fiber assure it: the adoption of a new mode of subcontracting (called STOC V2 mode) should soon “lower the failure rates in the connections and put an end to with all these aberrant cases that we can see in the territories”. However, it must be noted that although the failure rate in final connections was around 17% last fall, compared to 25% a few months earlier, efforts are still needed on this front to finally enable all users to fiber to take advantage of very high speed anywhere in France.





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