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RTE lines as a support for optical fibres.

Source: RTE 19/02/2002

The deployment of optical fibres on RTE power lines will contribute to extending the access to high-speed communication to all the French regions.

The public authorities have just decided that it will now be possible to use the power lines of the power transmission network to meet telecommunications infrastructure extension requirements.
This decision follows the meeting of the Interdepartmental Committee for National
and Regional Development (CIADT) of 9/07/2001 which had announced a number of important measures in favour of local communities so as to provide access to high- speed communication networks to the greatest number of people.

RTE takes note of this decision with satisfaction It is a decision which confirms and broadens its role as a Public Utility. By requesting it to place its network at the disposal of local communities, the public authorities reinforce the national and regional development mission entrusted to RTE and contribute to opening the access to high-speed communication to the general public.

Among the first actions undertaken, RTE has launched today, jointly with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (Deposit and Consignment Office) a project with the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Council for the initial study of the potential supply of urban areas of more than 3,000 inhabitants via the existing high voltage network (400, 225 and 63 kV). On the basis of this diagnosis, the Regional Council will decide on the deployment and operation of the high-speed network project on its territory.

Similar projects will be undertaken in other regions and departments. They will be followed up in particular so as to make an assessment at the end of 2002, the full coverage of the territory being planned by the end of 2005.

RTE already makes use of optical fibres on its lines to convey information concerning the operation of its network and mainly for its security telecommunications network. A total of nearly 2,000 km of power lines are already equipped with optical fibres, which now have a capacity to meet the needs of other potential users.

Using RTE's network of lines to deploy optical fibres offers a number of advantages: the supports already exist so that the occupation of new land or excavation of new trenches can be avoided, rapid implementation, extensive studies and civil engineering works will not be necessary.

In response to the request of the CIADT, RTE took the necessary steps in the summer of 2001 to provide its contribution to this project. The creation of an RTE subsidiary is now in progress in order to ensure that there is no cross-financing between RTE's various activities. This subsidiary will be the interface between RTE and telecommunication infrastructure operators who will be responsible for managing these high-speed transmission networks. It will enter into contracts with these operators concerning the financing and making available of optical fibres on the RTE network, as well as the maintenance of these fibres.

An industrial policy has also been drawn up in conjunction with companies specialised in the laying of these fibres in order to take measures to meet substantial deployment demand and reach a deployment objective of 15,000 km within five years.

The work sites will be financed by the local communities and infrastructure operators, with RTE funding the part of the fibres used for its own requirements.

By making its infrastructures available, RTE will contribute to y reducing the digital gap, while taking advantage of this far-reaching project to modernise its security telecommunications equipment, while reinforcing the safety of the power system and the quality of supply of the general public.

- Information file from the Secretary of State for Industry
- RTE Press Kit