Philippe Grosvalet, the President of the Loire-Atlantique Department, announced this Monday, 22nd June, during a session at the Departmental Assembly, the consortium selected to accomplish the objective for 100% fibre coverage by 2025: the public service concession will be led by Axione, in partnership with Vauban.
The objective is to provide all properties within the Loire-Atlantique (i.e. an estimate of approximately 179,000 properties outside the urban areas of Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, and the Guérande Peninsula) with fibre connections by 2025.
This operation will be carried out using entirely private funding; the selected offer does not include any public contribution. That being said, the Department will occupy an important role in providing guidance and assuring coordination. The contract negotiation period made it possible to clarify the partnership terms with the future project company, which will be created specifically in the Loire-Atlantique within the coming weeks. At the end of the 30-year concession, the Department will gain ownership of the entire network. Throughout the contract, it will receive licence fees estimated at at least €160 million.
A coherent and ambitious rollout schedule
As a “neutral” operator (one that does not market anything directly to consumers and businesses, but instead deals with operators) dedicated to communities since 2003, Axione—with the aid of its financial partner Vauban—is the candidate that produced the most coherent, convincing, and ambitious rollout schedule. The latter will be described in detail after the summer holidays, and meetings with communities will be organised.
The Department set three priority areas that the Axione-Vauban consortium intends to deal with, for the most part, from 2023 onward:
- Completing fibre rollout in the 60 communes covered by the first phase, which is in progress.
- Covering business parks that are not yet connected.
- Finalising rollout for the Loire-Atlantique’s main town centres.
Following on from the ongoing first phase
As a reminder, the Loire-Atlantique Department launched an initial rollout phase in 2017 with the aim of providing 114,000 properties with a fibre connection by mid-2022. The future concession guarantees the second phase’s technical and commercial consistency with the first, and the eventual operation of the entire network.
The Department desired a strong cooperative effort in terms of integration and sector development: the Axione-Vauban consortium is committed to 250,000 professional integration hours throughout the course of the contract.
At the height of network construction and property connection works, over
500 jobs will be active as part of this vast development project.
Axione, owned by Bouygues Energies & Services and Vauban Infrastructure Partners, is a leading player in the digital development of rural and urban areas. As a committed partner to the Plan France Très Haut Débit, Axione designs, builds, finances, and operates new generation digital infrastructure (FTTH, 4G, etc.) either for its own account or for local authorities or service operators. Axione operates in all French regions (“very dense” and “less dense” areas [zones très denses; zones moins denses]) and provides network operators with superfast access services for their users by pooling its digital infrastructure, which is open and accessible to all. Over 150 operators use the networks operated by Axione. Axione is a go-to player in digital infrastructure, with over 2,300 employees and a regional agency in Rezé.
Vauban Infrastructure Partners (or “Vauban”) is a management company within the BPCE group that is dedicated to infrastructural investments. Vauban operates in 4 sectors on the European market: digital infrastructure, transport, energy, and social infrastructure. The Vauban team consists of 37 professionals and currently manages over €3.6 billion for over 45 investors, and has made more than 55 investments in eight countries. Partnered with Axione since 2009, Vauban’s activities in the digital sector cover more than 6 million FTTH connections in France.