The deal will be submitted to the French telecoms regulator, just after it had fined the company €26 million for failing to meet its deployment targets 

French mobile operator Orange has announced a deal with the French government, that will see Orange increasing its fibre deployment to 1.12 million homes by 2025. 

The deployment deal will include areas which are the least densely populated in the country, named AMII zones. The company acknowledged the stark disparity between rural and urban areas, promising to provide over 140,000 homes with fibre in the areas with the least connectivity. 

In urban areas, deployments will continue, with the aim of connecting 300,000 premises by 2025. 

“After making a major contribution to the success of the France Très Haut Débit plan (France’s superfast broadband plan) in 2022, Orange is once again working with the government to ensure the widespread deployment of fibre by 2025,” said Orange CEO Christel Heydemann. 

“Having already covered 21 million of the 36 million eligible premises in France, we’re determined to make this major project a national success, benefiting as many people as possible.” 

The announcement comes after Orange ran into legal issues concerning the rate of their fibre deployment. The French Authority for Regulation of Electronic Communications, Mail and Press Distribution (ARCEP), fined Orange €26 million for missing the first deadline of deploying fibre for broadband in 3,000 municipalities across France. The first deadline was missed in 2020, and the company was put on notice in March last year. 

ARCEP noted that Orange’s non-compliance was “particularly serious” because it harmed the interests of end users in their access to networks. 

Arguing against the claim and fine, Orange said “the fine imposed by ARCEP could further reduce the amount of investments made in the deployment of fibre, to the detriment of households waiting for connection.” 

The company will refer the issue to France’s highest administrative jurisdiction, the Council of State. 

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