Once upon a time, the copper network.

1. Why close the copper?

The next chapters in France's digital history will not be written without seamless connectivity for all. That's more or less what the French government announced in 2013 when it presented its Plan Très Haut Débit (THD)1

The aim? To make digital divides an old story to tell.

Right now :

Faced with new data and connectivity-hungry behaviors, the copper network is gradually bowing out to make way for fiber. The historic network, which has long provided telephone, Internet and TV services, will gradually disappear in favor of a modern technology that is faster, 3 times less energy-intensive and, in short, 3 times more powerful.

2. Stakeholders in the copper network closure project

The copper network is 100% owned by Orange. Although the operator remains in charge of the closure project, the regulator is intervening to : 

  • check that the project is running smoothly, 
  • ensure that proposed alternative solutions maintain a balance in the market. 

On this last point, one might think that Orange's new fiber offerings would automatically come in response to the closure of copper offerings. 

Following a referral from Arcep, the French competition authority has issued an opinion on three draft decisions adopted as part of the procedure for analyzing the wholesale fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband markets. 

The one we're particularly interested in in this article concerns a strong desire tobalance the B2B telecomsmarket, where competition is currently underdeveloped. Netwo was born out of this realization: simplify access to telecoms technologies and infrastructures to encourage the development of local operators.

Discover infrastructure operators

The Authority sees this period of transition to fiber as an opportunity for alternative operators to seize: many companies may be considering a change of operator and a revision of their offers 4.

In fact, many regional infrastructure operators are working to extend their fiber coverage to new conurbations. The Netwo platform aggregates their offers to give them visibility.

See available offers

Transition to fiber: what you need to know

1. Stopping copper: project milestones

Closing down the copper network is a titanic project, which is why it will take several years. Orange is pacing this operation according to a precise timetable3.

The transition to fibre: a 2-stage project :

  • the first stage involves commercial closure: operators are no longer offering xDSL services;
  • the second stage switches to a technical shutdown, i.e. an interruption of services for xDSL, PSTN and ISDN customers.

Here's a closer look at the major calendar milestones:

2. Copper vs. fiber: what's the difference?

Since the closure of the copper network will no longer allow operators to resell xDSL offers by 2026, it's up to operators to highlight their alternative offerings. These are mainly fiber offers, but the transition is also giving pride of place to 4G/5G access. Technology, performance, expectations... everything you need to know about the new benchmark: the fiber network.

Like ADSL, fiber optics is a technology that providesaccess to the Internet. ADSL transmits digital data over the copper wires of a telephone line, using the same network as the telephone. Fiber optics, on the other hand, is a cable containing glass or plastic wires, requiring the deployment of a new, independent network for IP data transfer.

In terms of performance, it is recognized as having much better qualities than the copper network, notably rapid data transfer over long distances, with less risk of attenuation or electromagnetic disturbance. This is why fiber optics is part of theVery High SpeedInternet5.

As with any new development, expectations are high. Whether it's a question ofsales opportunities for operators or a response to a strategic issue for the government, the rollout of fiber is a closely watched project. 

A few figures on the progress and ambitions6 for fiber :

‍3. How do you guide your customer to the right fiber offer?

Since the announcement of the end of copper, fiber optic offers have been multiplying. So how do you make the right choice? The fiber optic network includes a wide range of offers whose terminology varies according to the connection and the last point served: 

  • FTTO or fiber to the office, 
  • FTTH or fiber-to-the-home,
  • FTTE or fiber for professionals and small businesses,
  • FTTB or fiber-to-the-building.

To help you understand the differences and meet your customers' needs, Netwo sheds light on the different use cases in this article. For a closer look at the two most popular offers, FTTO and FTTH, click here.

Netwo meets new fiber optic needs

1. The Netwo vision or the aggregation of regional and national offers

We're living through a historic turning point right now: the end of copper signals the start of a new era in telecoms. Players like Netwo are fully embracing this change, with alternative offerings based on innovative technologies. In addition to offering a wide choice of alternative telecom services to copper, Netwo is transforming the operator's business. Via an online platform, the Netwo solution offers : 

  • centralize and simplify all telecoms operators' tasks, from purchasing to monitoring service deployment, from price negotiation to after-sales service.
  • access to a multitude of local, regional and national infrastructures.
" Netwo is not the intersection of these two models, but their union.
Bruno VELUET, General Manager - Netwo

Our platform makes it easy to discover new suppliers without having to bear the recurring costs of collection gateways or service access fees. If you are both a service operator and an infrastructure provider, enhance the value of your assets by offering your infrastructure for sale directly on our platform. So you see: with Netwo, maximize your return on investment!

2. How can you quickly identify copper replacement solutions for your customer base?

Fiber is now available throughout France, even in the most remote areas. The Netwo eligibility module enables you to quickly carry out feasibility studies for switching from copper to fiber anywhere in France. 

With the Netwo platform, you can create both unit and mass eligibility in a matter of seconds. Mass eligibility enables you to create a large number of eligibilities automatically, using a file in CSV format.

This feature saves time when switching from copper to fiber, or when responding to a call for tenders

The process includes enriching the file with addresses, GPS coordinates, IMB code, etc., verifying the enrichment, launching mass eligibility and downloading the results. Offers can then be ordered from the interface or via the link provided in the CSV results file. Practical, isn't it?

Request a demo

To find out all about mass eligibility, watch our dedicated webinar 👇

Things to remember

The end of copper is a real turning point in the telecoms sector. This historic network deployed for fixed telephony and Internet access is running out of steam, to be replaced by a more efficient and modern technology. Fiber optics is asserting itself on the market, responding to strategic and environmental challenges, as well as to new consumer behaviors. The transition to fiber optics marks a decisive step towards homogeneous, high-performance connectivity for everyone in France. Spurred on by the Plan Très Haut Débit and ARCEP's regulatory role, the closure of the copper network is opening up new opportunities for alternative operators. Fiber optics, with its superior performance, is becoming the standard for ultra-high-speed Internet, while innovative solutions such as those offered by Netwo are easing the transition for businesses, notably with the help of a high-performance mass eligibility module.


Source : 

‍1Open letter to the French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry

and industrial and digital sovereignty

2 The end of copper: what does it mean?

What will the closure of the copper plant change?

3 Copper switch-off and the end of ADSL: map and timetable

4 Opinion of the French competition authority following a referral from ARCEP

on the seventh round of analysis of fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband wholesale markets

ARCEP's role in the copper shutdown

5 All you need to know about fiber optics in 5 questions

6 Observatoire du très haut débit, 2023

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