This Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Orange begins the gradual closure of ADSL lines. The end of an era for millions of users who will have to switch to fiber, 5G or satellite Internet.
Launched in the 1960s, the ADSL telephone network will be gradually closed to make way, among other things, for optical fiber. A first batch, of “only 211,000 premises”, will be disconnected on January 31. Orange thus marks the start of the “industrial phase” which marks the scheduled end of its copper network.
A progressive schedule
The closure of the switched telephone network (PSTN) which includes telephone and ADSL is in its final years. Indeed, the closure is expected to take at least six years. A schedule programmed by Orange and closely monitored by ARCEP which ensures that homes and professional premises have at their disposal an alternative to access the internet.
Thus, the deadline for definitive closure of ADSL throughout the country is set for January 2030. Six years which will see the closure of the copper network accelerate, as fiber, 5G and satellite connection will continue to be deployed.
In January 2025, 829 municipalities will be deprived of their copper line, which represents 954,000 professional premises. In January 2026, 2,145 municipalities and 2.5 million premises will be affected. At the start of 2030, the 42 million lines still active should therefore bow out. ARCEP will obviously ensure that this is accompanied by timely deployment of alternatives to ADSL by operators.
If this is not the case, the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority will not hesitate “to request the postponement of the closure in certain municipalities”. As Laure de La Raudière, president of ARCEP, points out, “the quality of service difficulties still encountered today must be resolved.”
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As of September 30, 2023, the ARCEP observatory estimated at 37 million the number of homes eligible for optical fiber to the home on FTTH networks. Optical fiber is now available in more than 30,000 municipalities in France.
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