Challenges and strategy

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'10 years ago, we were pioneers in the field of regional digital infrastructure planning and development. Since its foundation, Axione has positioned itself as an innovator. We were the first company to deploy FTTH in an urban area of more than 100,000 residents; to bring DSL to rural areas; to deploy 4G WiMAX solutions; to make extensive use of microtrenching civil engineering techniques in deploying our aggregation networks; and to deploy fibre optic on aerial electric networks.

 

 

Axione has also been a driving force behind changes to agreements with Électricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF) on the use of low voltage (LV). We have also adopted a pioneering approach towards structuring funding for telecommunications infrastructure in Public Initiative Networks, in collaboration with large banks, including Crédit Agricole and Caisse d’Epargne, as well as insurance companies such as Macif and Matmut. Axione is a key player in developing economic models and techniques for installing networks.

 

The next step is fibre optic for all and 4G networks. With regard to FTTH, we subscribe to the national policy set out by the government, which will define the rules of the game that we must observe. In any case, we must find the necessary resources, in viable economic conditions, to achieve super-fast broadband coverage across the country. Although large urban areas are already covered, our greatest challenge is to connect the 42% of the population who are spread across 90% of France's communes. Pooling infrastructure and public subsidies will be two key solutions in achieving this potential and lowering the cost per subscriber in areas of low population density.

Today, we operate in three key areas:

  • deploying super-fast broadband in partnership with local authorities in the 15 departments where we operate Public Initiative Networks (PINs) as part of a digital infrastructure development plan (Schéma Directeur d’Aménagement Numérique du Territoire or SDTAN) and responding to new calls for tenders;
     
  • supporting telecommunications companies in deploying, operating and maintaining mobile infrastructures;
     
  • exporting, as we make our first moves into operating and deploying super-fast broadband networks in England and Gabon. France is renowned for its expertise in this field around the world.' 

Extract from an interview with Pierre-Eric Saint André, Axione's Managing Director, for Réseaux VRD.