technology

Make Orange pay for the maintenance of its air network, the bill of two senators


What if operators paid for overhead line maintenance? A Law proposition ad hoc was submitted for first reading to the Senate on October 26.

Significant expenses for municipalities

As our colleagues from The gallery, which relay information, outside cities, the fiber or ADSL (copper) internet network is often carried by cables in the air. It is then necessary to maintain regularly and carefully the vegetation which surrounds these installations. If a branch falls and cuts a cable, hundreds or even thousands of people are left without a connection for several hours.

However, according to senators LR Valérie Boyer and Patrick Chaize at the origin of the bill, maintenance would weigh heavily in the budget of communities. “The town halls must now assume all the maintenance expenses inherent in the passage of the cables of telephone operators”, worries Georges Cristiani, mayor of Mimet and president of the mayors of Bouches-du-Rhône quoted in the explanatory memorandum to the bill. According to the rapporteurs of the text, the elected officials would have meant that more than “50% of network incidents” were caused by a “pruning fault.”

Orange disputes

Furthermore, questioned by The gallery, Patrick Chaize also points out the imprecision of the current texts. This lack of clarity would lead to “the absence of real maintenance along the network.”

The bill “tending to place the maintenance of telephone lines at the expense of network operators” proposes for its part to have the cost of this work borne by the operators, Orange in the lead. The document suggests that “maintenance operations in the vicinity of a fixed electronic communications network open to the public, such as brush clearing, grass cutting, pruning and felling, are carried out by the owner of the reception infrastructure of the said network open to the public.

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For Orange, this proposal is not acceptable. “Orange does not have to bear alone the cost of maintaining vegetation in the public domain near its networks. […] The solution to these difficulties does not pass through a new text of law, but through consultation and cooperation between operators and local authorities in order to make these operations more efficient”denounces the group, quoted by our colleagues.

Upcoming closure of the ADSL network

As a reminder, Orange is preparing for the gradual closure of the ADSL copper network by 2030. A measure justified by the switch to fiber and by the increase in maintenance costs for this aging network. During the Conference of Connected Territories, the secretary of Orange, Nicolas Guérin, assured that 500 million euros were allocated each year to the maintenance of the copper network, reports GNT. The incumbent operator then stated that it did not want to bear alone the additional cost induced by maintaining the quality of service.

More recently, competing operator Bouygues Telecom complained about Orange’s lack of investment in the ADSL network. A complaint has even been filed with the Paris court, according to information from the Informed. Bouygues denounces a “commercial harm” in the operation of the lines and claims 78 million euros.

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