Laurent Pabiot, Mayor of Sancerre 

Sancerre was recently voted France’s favourite village. Was any special organisation required during the works so as not to impact the influx of tourists? 

There was close management, particularly with respect to the monitoring and application of traffic regulations.  

Sancerre is a medieval town with narrow streets, making it impossible to both carry out work and provide access. The main routes lead to the town centre and if they are closed, some residents / shopkeepers may be left completely isolated. The local police monitored the work to ensure that it was well coordinated with the summer season. Tourist flows were only marginally affected. 

How do residents feel about the arrival of very high-speed broadband? 

They have embraced it. The town has a lot of teleworkers, especially from the Paris region. This connection therefore allows them to reconcile work with their second home.  

Companies are also the most vocal about the need for connection: currently, both individuals and businesses frequently struggle with the copper network, which tends to make daily connections unstable. 

What will the arrival of Very High Speed Broadband mean for a village like Sancerre? 

The arrival of HSBB will increase the appeal of the area for new inhabitants/workers. At a time when competition between regions can be fierce in relation to large cities, this kind of asset is a definite advantage.  

Two surveys carried out in 2021 show this very clearly:  

  • The “Living Standards Barometer”, conducted by OpinionWay, showed that 47% of respondents would hasten their plans to move if they were able to telework.  
  • “The French view of small towns”, conducted jointly by the ANCT and the association of small towns in France, shows that the main barriers to settling in a small town are difficulties in travelling, access to health services and connectivity.  

Patrick Barnier, Chairman of Berry Numérique 

To what extent do you think that very high speed broadband promotes a vibrant economy in the regions? 

For some years now, companies of all sizes as well as individuals have been calling for very high speed broadband. The ability of an area to offer varied and high quality broadband services is indispensable to support the development and transformation of our companies and to attract new businesses and/or teleworkers. 

Is the deployment of fibre optics throughout the region really helping to open it up and to make it more attractive economically? 

Fibreoptic is the most efficient and lasting connectivity solution. It is therefore essential that the technology is able to reach 100% of our rural areas so as not to hamper their future development.  

Given the expected phasing out of the copper telephone network announced by Orange between 2025 and 2030, this universal fibre rollout is a crucial fairness issue. 

How does a public initiative network differ from other fibre deployment projects? 

Our public initiative network has several beneficial features for the region:  

A detailed and binding contractual arrangement governing the work of our private partner Berry Fibre Optique, which is in charge of operating and maintaining the network; 

A neutral and activated network with a very wide choice of commercial offers, provided by 10 consumer Internet service providers and several dozen professional service operators; 

An ability to innovate and evolve led by local elected officials. 

Laurent Roussat, Manager of Berry Fibre Optique: 

How will the Berry Fibre Optic project enhance the appeal of the area? 

Very high speed broadband is essential to the daily life of Berry’s people, businesses and local authorities: the Berry Fibre Optique project is part of this process connects over 40,000 Berry residents to the fibreoptic network. 

Very high speed internet access for all is now a reality, enhancing Berry’s appeal and therefore its influence. 

InfraNum’s latest report shows that fibreoptic deployment stepped up a gear last year. What are your main challenges in the coming years? 

There are three main areas of focus in the coming years: 

  • Bringing Very High Speed Broadband to 100% of Berry’s public initiative area 
  • Meeting the growing need for speed and service 
  • Ensuring the durability and development of the network 

What does competition between operators mean for the region? 

Competition brings vitality and innovation to the region. The network accommodates all the operators in the area equally, enabling citizens (individuals, companies or local authorities) to benefit from a wide range of services suited to all needs to foster economic development and ensure a “good life” in Berry.