In 2013, the government decided to launch a historic project aimed at covering the entire country with super-fast broadband by 2022, 80% of which will be provided by fibre-optic technology, with the aim of reducing the territorial inequalities that would have resulted from uncoordinated action at national level.
Furthermore, this policy is in line with the European objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), which sets a connectivity target for member countries to provide all Europeans with a speed of more than 30 mbps by 2020 and more than 100 mbps by 2025.
The challenges for French society are numerous. The France Très Haut Débit Plan attempts to strengthen the national economic fabric, but it is also an essential lever for regional planning policies and aims to reduce the digital divide and territorial inequalities in all metropolitan and overseas territories.
Successive governments have pursued this objective by reaffirming the State's commitment and stabilising the regulatory and fiscal framework, thereby securing the investments of operators and financiers. Similarly, these objectives remain a priority for the European Commission, which reiterated them when presenting its digital strategy in February 2020. The quality of super-fast fixed broadband networks will be fundamental to its ability to achieve its objectives in terms of the data economy, artificial intelligence and even the deployment of 5G.
One of the founding principles of the French Plan is participation by the State, local authorities and the private sector. Founded on a regulatory framework based on infrastructure rather than services competition, the French model sets out national objectives, the implementation of which is entrusted to the local authorities, which are coordinated at national level.
The whole country has been divided into two distinct zones:
- Private intervention zones (55% of the population and nearly 3,600 municipalities), which also include co-investment zones (known as AMII zones). These are the most densely populated areas;
- Public intervention zones covering the least dense areas and rural areas, where public initiative networks (RIPs) are deployed at the initiative of local authorities supported by the State (45% of the population).
The total cost of the Plan has been estimated at 21 billion euros. Public investment is estimated at between 13 and 14 billion, of which a share is financed by the local authorities and 3.3 billion by the State (Programme 343 concerning the National Fund for a Digital Society, managed under the Investments for the Future Programme).