French cable operator Lyonnaise Cbble has announced plans to upgrade its elderly cable network to enable it to offer digital TV, voice and high speed Internet services across France.
Lyonnaise Cbble, part of water, energy and communications multinational Suez-Lyonnaise, said today its upgrade program would start in Paris, where customers will be connected for high speed cable Internet access by the end of March.
So far, Lyonnaise Cable has trialled its cable Internet service on 10,000 homes outside Paris. Now 30,000 homes in Paris have signed up to use the service in the capital. The company?s network passes around 1.3 million Parisian households.
Lyonnaise Cable?s network was built 13 years ago for TV, but satellite has so far remained the favourite of French TV companies. The company hopes its Paris Internet offer of FF200 a month will spur cable use in France.
"It won?t by the cheapest service, but there will be no unpleasant phone bills at the end of each month,? said a spokesman.
French telecoms regulator, The Autoriti de Regulation des Tilicommunications (ART), cleared the way for Lyonnaise Cable and other operators to compete with former monopoly operator France Telecom in providing local phone and Internet services by cable.
But since the French telecoms market was liberalised on 1 January, 1998, France Telecom has been accused by rivals of delay tactics, notably in supplying technical data.
Lyonnaise Cable?s deputy head, Patricia de Suzzoni, said these tactics had delayed the company?s $450 million development plan by up to 18 months.
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