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France signs largest ever broadband PPP at €900m

Mirova, Bouygues and Caisse des Dépôts form part of the consortium that will deliver an 18,500km fibre optic network in the country’s north.

The project company responsible for developing France's largest fibre optic network has signed a 25-year concession contract for the €900 million project.
The 'Très Haut Débit' PPP will aim to connect all households and businesses based in the Nord and Pas de Calais departments to a fibre optic network by 2022, faster than envisaged by the procuring authorities, which originally aimed to reach this target within a decade.
A consortium comprising telecoms developer Axione – a subsidiary of Bouygues Énergies & Services – as well as Bouygues itself, Paris-based fund manager Mirova and Caisse des Dépôts is responsible for delivering the project. Mirova is investing in the project through its €120 million FIDEPPP 2 fund.

The concession encompasses the design, building, financing, operation, maintenance and commercialisation of an 18,500km, publicly owned fibre broadband network in low-density areas of the targeted region. About 681,000 new connexions are to be achieved within six years, at the pace of 140,000 annually from year two of the project. 
The scheme has an estimated cost of €900 million, €260 million of which will be covered by local authorities and the state. The European Investment Bank is also providing €105 million.