A new report issued by the French industry regulator Arcep showed that French telcos invested €600 million more in 2017 than they did in 2016

French telcos invested a record breaking €9.6 billion last year, as operators invested in fibre networks and laid the groundwork for 5G. 

‘Two years ago, I asked operators to break open their piggy banks, to rise to national coverage challenges, and enable France to catch up on the connectivity front. With an investment of €9.6 billion, we are seeing the sector’s growing commitment to making up for lost time, and coming in line with the country’s infrastructure needs,’ says Arcep Chair, Sébastien Soriano. 

Across Europe, network operators are investing in fibre networks to deliver gigabit capable broadband and bolster 4G and LTE coverage today. 

"We are investing a significant amount in our networks and globally at group level, we have increased spending over the past years, mainly for the deployment of Fibre-to-the-Home. Furthermore, there is some interest to spread the deployments over some time, to avoid overwhelming pressure on industrial capabilities, both for Orange and our suppliers and installation teams," said Yves Bellego, director of Technical and Network Strategy at Orange. 

Orange’s investment in its networks has born real fruit in the last 12 months, with its 4G network coverage in France reaching an impressive 96 per cent in both France and Spain. The company has also seen a dramatic uptick in its average network speeds. 

"[Orange] had a 3-fold increase on user speed both on mobile and fixed between 2014 and 2018," Bellego added. 

The increased investment will also help to lay the foundations for the rollout of 5G in the years to come  

"We believe that the investment in 5G will be a continuity of that in 4G, for example when we deploy fibre backhaul we already anticipate the requirements of 5G. For 5G radio, we expect this to ramp-up over the coming years starting in 2019," he added. 

Yves Bellego recently spoke of the importance of investing in full fibre networks at Total Telecom’s Gigabit Access event. You can read the full article here and watch the full interview below.