UTEL Completes Full Retrofit to PAU City FTTH Network

Network retrofitted to help connect more than 55,000 customers at 140 FTTH sites

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UTEL logo



March 25, 2013

PAU, France and Suffolk, UK. March 25 2013. UTEL, Europe’s leading independent research and development centre for telecommunications systems, has completed the design, manufacture and delivery of equipment to retrofit France’s PAU City FTTH Network (14 districts).

More than 55,000 customers and 140 sites are involved in the upgrade that will see the delivery of fibre to the home (FTTH) across the city. The existing network in PAU was a point-to-point design which was initially deployed in 2003.

The upgraded PAU network is the first 100% optical fibre network in France and is being developed by concession owner Axione, under an agreement spanning 15 years. It is the only fibreoptic hybrid point to point and GPON network activated in France on this scale. Locally SPTHD (Société paloise pour le très haut debit) company has been created for the deployment, operation and maintenance of the FTTH network.

“We were very pleased with the cost effective design UTEL developed allowing us to retrofit the existing network with a full upgrade to meet all of our requirements. The time-frames in which they were able to complete full delivery were also very impressive,” said Olivier Briche, Network deployment manager at Axione.

The new equipment, designed by UTEL and its Chinese partner Sunsea, called MOF96PS, is now being installed underneath each splice tray at 150 outdoor or indoor cabinet locations. The design means existing patch cords will be connected to the back of the patch panel utilising infrastructure already in place. Then the MOF96PS will enable any customer to connect to any internet service provider whatever the type of network topology, Point to Point or GPON.

“Other bidders for this project wanted to replace the entire infrastructure at much greater cost; but we were able to look at the existing network and design an adaption. This enabled a retrofit at one tenth the cost of full replacement,” said Jean-Raoul Boyer, UTEL France Director.

“Commercial off the shelf products are often not sufficient which is why we pride ourselves on being able to engineer for any situation. For this project we were briefed by Axione on exactly what they wanted and were able to deliver a prototype within 10 days and the full solution within months. That includes design, manufacture and delivery,” added Boyer.

Projects such as this are becoming more common in France as the regulator ARCEP has employed a strict policy to ensure only one FTTH network is deployed in less dense areas (Zone 2) of the country, such as PAU.

For further information about UTEL’s existing solutions and services visit www.utel.co.uk.

About the FTTH network PAU:
On 18 July 2003, the Urban Community of Pau-Pyrénées (CDA PP) awarded Axione the contract to build the first 100% fiber optic network of France, called Pau Broadband Country (PBC). The public / private investment amounted to 35 million Euros. For this project SPTHD company ( Société Paloise pour le Très Haut Débit) has been created to manage the project locally.

Under the public service delegation (PSD) signed for 15 years, SPTHD designs, maintains and operates the first end to end Very High Speed Fiber Optic network in France. SPTHD sells to all internet service providers who then offer their services to enterprises and consumers in the town of Pau. SPTHD also promotes and works to the addition of new usages and service to be at the forefront of technology and innovation infrastructure.

The network has 55,000 optical fibres connections available to the subscribers, representing approximately 80% of the territory eligible for a fibre optic connection, able to deliver high speed broadband services (Voice, Data , video) with symmetric rates up to 100 Mbps.

Today, PBC network has over 12,000 subscribers, making it one of the largest FTTH networks in France.

PBC specific project:
The specificities of the PBC project lies in the fact that the entire network is 100% fibre optic and enterprises and consumers benefit from fibre optic up to their premises. Up to now only major national networks and local loop or very large firms were connected to optical fiber end to end. For users the great news is they can now receive an unrivalled FTTH (fiber to the home) service.

The choice to build an End to End fibre optic network was made based on two reasons, the first reason is the life of public investment, secondly, to take out all bitrates technical constraint for the long term to allow the diffusion of all content solutions to the Very High Definition TV and 3D which is now emerging. Pau Broadband Country is the first French network post ADSL to test and commercialize all applications of today and tomorrow with Very High Speed.

The public network gives a sustainable instrument to the community for the digital development of its territory and a tool to support economic development.

About UTEL:
United Technologists Europe Limited (UTEL) is a founder owned UK limited company, incorporated in 1993 by two R&D engineers Frank Kaufhold and Paul Grafton. Their ambitions were simple if idealistic: - they wanted to build a commercially successful R&D focussed company without compromising their own ethical and environmental values and create an unconstrained working environment that would maximise innovative productivity.

Today UTEL has more than 40 employees in the UK and France with the majority directly focussed on R&D and a turnover of 20 million Euros. All manufacturing and installation of UTEL’s solutions are carried out by European subcontractors under the company’s direct control. Unusually, this commercial success has been achieved purely through organic growth and internal reinvestment without outside financial support.

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