Fibre is finally getting prety close to the home. Two new stories have broken in the last few days, after the announcements earlier this year from France Telecom and Free.
Here is the first one, about Erenis, a small company that has been quietly cabling Paris with fibre for the last two years:
The optical fibre broadband provider Erenis is to launch a commercial service with a download speed of 100 Mb/s and download speed of 50 Mb/s in January, coupled with triple play, 100 GB of user storage, unlimited telephone calls to landlines in 100 countries and a bouquet of 54 TV channels (soon to be increased to 100). Much higher than its current 50 Mb/s download and 6 Mb/s upload service and enough to include two simultaneous HDTV channels. Pitched at the same price level as basic ADSL (E30 a month for the first year and E35 a month after that), with no hidden extras (modem rental, entry or termination fee) other than a E60 deposit for the modem, this makes it “the best offer in the market” according to its CEO Daniel Caclin.
Erenis is currently cabling Paris with optical fibre. The technology used is FTTB (fibre to the building), with VDSL within the building. This is particularly suited to the nature of Paris architecture, consisting of many small apartment blocks. The average length of copper from the fibre terminal equipment to the home is 30 metres, said Caclin. To date, 1,500 buildings in Paris, reaching 50,000 apartments, have been connected to the Erenis network. It has 9,000 subscribers, expecting to reach 10,000 by the end of the year. It plans to start installing fibre in the close suburbs next year and in the provinces from 2008, with the aim of having 300,000 clients by 2011.
Erenis raised E26.5 million earlier this year to pay for the cabling costs, which average E700 per subscriber. The short payback time (to recover the cabling costs from a subscriber) which Caclin estimates at between two and a half and 4 years, will enable Erenis to continue installing fibre until its next raising of funds. Erenis now has a permanent staff of 150, compared to just 30 as of February this year.
Competition is beginning to appear in the sector. France Telecom is operating only a pilot fibre project. Free (Iliad group) has announced a massive fibre investment plan over ten years. Cable operator UPC-Noos-Numericable is to announce a similar offer in the next few days.