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Shaping Europe’s digital future
Success story | Publication

High speed broadband for all in Yvelines, France

The project “High speed broadband for all in Yvelines” introduced an innovative and cost-saving solution to provide all homes and businesses in rural and sparsely populated areas with a very high-speed connection. This legal and financial solution allows a private operator to deploy and manage a high-speed network using its own funds, with a viable business plan and within the timeframe set by the local authority. The project was awarded with the European Broadband Award 2022.

Symbolic image of a digital connectivity network

As part of the French national Very High Speed Plan, the Yvelines Department, as a local authority, was given responsibility for deploying very fast broadband on its territory, which is scarcely populated and not covered by private operators. In order to compensate the lack of private investment in broadband infrastructure in the less populated parts of the territory of 158 municipalities (approximately 100,000 homes), local authorities and the Conseil Départemental des Yvelines (CD78) had to design and implement a digital development policy so as to offer access to very high-speed broadband and a competitive choice between operators. The CD78 therefore adopted a master plan for digital development of the territory in order to bridge the digital divide as quickly as possible. By December 2021, 93,000 households in remote areas, out of the 100,000 initially planned, are provided broadband connectivity.

The objective of this project has been met: the infrastructures are robust and agile and they were completed very quickly. People, companies and other socio-economic actors in the entire Yvelines territory have access to a high quality connections without the cost being borne by taxpayers.

The main actors in this project are: 

  • Conseil Départemental des Yvelines as the local authority which is responsible of the "Territory Settlement Scheme"
  • Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique is Conseil départemental's operator in charge of the issue and the response, and
  • TDF via its branch Yvelines Fibre is the technical company which deployed the operational solution.

What makes this project unique is its innovative legal and financial model. The prevailing models up to now have been the local authority's own investment to build the network or the public service delegation - the call for investment commitments (AMEI). The novelty brought by the legal form concerns the operator's commitment to meet the objectives and deadlines. The transfer of the network shares to TDF is thus conditioned by the compliance with its commitments. 

From a financial point of view, it is a question of having a private partner (TDF) invest in an area that had been deemed unprofitable by traditional operators. Instead of passing these significant costs onto the taxpayers, the Yvelines Departmental Council, via its operator Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique, chose the company with the best offer for the area. 

This new model has therefore made it possible to limit both the risk and the cost for the citizens and local public administrations, but also to maintain a strong local presence and to encourage private sector intervention when public intervention is not strictly necessary. 

This innovative project has inspired other projects implemented by the French State in several local areas. TDF now operates in the Val d'Oise County, in the Loire Valley and in the Anjou Province.
Total costs of the project are EUR 150 million private funds and EUR 6.56 million for broadband upgrade.

For more information visit the project website.