Hollande promise €20 billion broadband investment

French president François Hollande has promised a €20 billion investment plan to support the development of very high-speed internet infrastructure across the country.

Speaking in Clermont-Ferrand, Hollande said a third of the €20 billion would be provided by private companies to develop broadband infrastructure in profitable densely populated areas, while a third would be co-financed by private operators and local authorities and other collective bodies in less densely populated areas.

Of remaining third – amounting to €6 billion – a half will be provided by the state. “It’s the role of the state to allow all French citizens to access very high-speed technology,” said Hollande.

According to the plan, 50% of the French population should have access to high-speed services by 2017, with access available for all in 10 years.

Of this allocation of €3 billion over 10 years, Hollande said €900 million had already been budgeted. The remainder is likely to come from licensing of mobile spectrum. According to La Tribune newspaper, telecom regulator ARCEP has been charged with coming up with a plan for the refarming of spectrum in the 1,800MHz band for 4G applications. Hollande promised that there will be no additional ta burden placed on operators to finance the investment plan.