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Numericable-SFR seeks urgent meeting in dispute with Paris city

facade_campus_sfr_maxime_dufour__photographies_3French service provider Numericable-SFR has sought an urgent meeting with Paris city council officials after the latter threatened to remove the operator’s equipment from local distribution facilities for non-payment of fees, according to local reports.

The city has ordered Numericable-SFR to pay up or have its equipment removed by August 10, potentially depriving up to 4.5 million people from TV, internet and telephony services.

The dispute dates back to 2009, when Numericable, as it then was, refused to sign an agreement accepting increases in fees for the use of the facilities. When its existing agreement expired in February, Numericable-SFR refused to sign a new one and is therefore occupying facilities without a right to do so, according to a city spokesperson cited by daily Le Figaro.

Numericable contested the fees on the grounds that they were calculated on the basis of the total floor space made available rather than the floor space actually used, a principal that was accepted by other operators.

The city has also accused Numericable and its business-to-business affiliate Completel of not paying the fees owed for the 2008-13 period in full.

In addition to Numericable’s customers in Paris, the dispute threatens customers elsewhere thanks to the capital’s role as an interconnect. It also threatens the service of 2.4 million customers of Bouygues Telecom, which rents capacity from Numericable.