The end of the copper wire telephone network

This week Orange has announced a proposal for the complete closure of the copper wire telephone network by 2030. Already 70% are eligible for fibre.

It is planned to be done in two phases. In outline, the plan is until 2025 they will experiment with closing the network in different sorts of towns to gain experience in the best methods of switching everyone over to fibre. From 2023 they will start to announce places which will be closed/switched, giving a three year lead time. So starting 2026 the changeover will happen with complete closure by the end of 2030.

See the full Orange project proposal document to ARCEP ( Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques, des Postes et de la Distribution de la Presse ) along with the ARCEP consultation document

The Orange document refers to 100% FTTH (fibre to the home) for much of the document but does recognise that will not be possible for all locations so other options (4G, satellite, etc) will need to be put in place.

1 Like

Which would leave you no telephone connection when the power goes out if you don’t have mobile coverage.

After the tempest at the end of 1999 I was without electricity for ten days.
The telephone exchange batteries ran out after about three days so the phone stopped working.
And I didn’t have a mobile phone in 1999.

1 Like

If it was a big exchange it might have been fuel for the generator which ran out rather than batteries.

1 Like

Which already happens for anyone with their 'phones connected via a Livebox or similar. It is already not possible to have a news POTS line installed (i.e. a plain wired analogue telephone).

I have everything critical on a UPS, the last longish outage was 3 hours - the file/web server (which is also my de facto desk PC as I often can’t be bothered to power up the “official” desktop machine) managed 90 minutes before I shut it down and the small router and the analogue phone adapter stayed up the whole way through.

Exchanges and cabinets don’t have much more than three hours worth of battery these days though.

1 Like

That’s us lumbered with Orange’s version of “4G” then. Not at all confident about Orange replacing our segment of copper with fibre (3 km of overhead copper wire for 8 homes).

1 Like

A Tesla Powerwall’s the solution. A snip at $10,500. Or for those of us with more modest means…

Or get one of these with 2.5x the capacity for less money

1 Like

You might be suprised - I’m not sure if its a Departmental thing but according to the Mairie every home will have the possibility of fibre in our neck of 23.

I was suprised 6 months ago when poles and fibre appeared along the 3km to our hamlet and another 1km to the next hamlet - it spurs off another km to a single house (maison secondaire). Still can’t actually suscibe but hey ho.

However - on the dge of our hamlet there’s an old house probably 800 m down an old chemin- same family owned it since it was built - owned by the extended family but its a maison secondaire. Weirdly one of the odd weeks someone was there - the fibre boys arrived with mini diggers and great UniMogs - he got really irritated they were about to dig up the cobbles to lay fibre to a house that didn’t “want it”/need it. Anyway - results in conversations with the Mairie - and he was the departments plan is we have to install it to every house … in this case a new route on poles through the forests.

There’s new poles and fibre cable along every country road round here - its not actually Orange round here I think its a seperate entity who “owns” the fibre

This is not about Orange taking away the wired network and Orange having to replace it with something else. Apart from the other three major operators, there are other organisations who could be involved in providing fibre and improved mobile services.

It depends who is responsible for the fibre installation in your location. There are separate Réseau d’Initiative Publique (RIP) organisations in some departments who are financing, installing, operating and maintaining fibre in more rural villages on behalf of the department e.g. Losange Fibre here in the Grand Est. Orange, Free, SFR, Bouygues, and other internet providers will pay Losange to use the fibre to provide services.

We have ALLiance Très Haut (Aveyron, Lot, Lozère) putting in the fibre. The cable is now on the poles outside so we have high hopes of connection this year.

This is all very exciting… .especially as so many talk about the fibre coming along overhead… yippee…

Since all our cables went underground in 2012, the dirth of swallows/house-martins/whatever has been very noticeable.

I await the future, with great hope…

Yes, many of our cables seem to be going underground as well. Work is going on now on many of the electricity cables in our commune. Thankfully, the overhead cables in front of my house will stay and so the spectacular migration antics in early autumn should continue. It’s really spectacular :+1:


I’m left wondering as to how this fibre optic cable connects to the copper wire that feeds the various traditional phone points in my house ?

We used to have an actual fibre supply to our house in UK - this connected directly to a fibre modem which offered WiFi to the house and a 5 network RJ45 portd. No copper cable arrived at the house.

A VOIP system box (black/orange in photo below) was connected to one of the ports - we now use the same VOIP system in France as we bought it with us and it meant we could keep our UK phone number (easy from family & friends and cheap call costs for them) .


Connected to the VOIP box we have a cordless phone which has 4 additional handsets - so now we do not have a copper wire phone system in the house at all.

I would imagine a new installation now the VOIP elements will be built into the fibre modem and this is where you would plug your phone into - whether or not you can connect other phones to this same socket I dont know nor if you can feed to your nearby phone socket that you then branch off to you other phone sockets again I don’t know - but it can all work if you go for cordless phones as that it what we are doing.

Thanks for the information. I do hope that I won’t effectively be forced into buying a load of extra kit that I neither want nor need. Cordless phones are good in as far as they go, but they are not exactly compatible with our 2 foot thick stone internal walls, and of course the VOIP system only works when the internet is working.
I think that the fibre will be good for those that need it, but for those of us that don’t, then I hope the phone companies will maintain their existing contractual obligations.


They use a special glue & insulating tape, :wink:


I wouldn’t get your hopes up - I don’t think there is a chance they will continue to maintain it.

1 Like

Possibly the easiest way to illustrate what you do is to use this Livebox 5 installation as an example.
Just look at diagram 5 where a phone is connected into one of the two phone outlets and diagram 6 where the fibre input in connected. So you can just plug in a cable from your house copper wire network into the Livebox. The older Livebox 4 has inputs for both ADSL and for fibre so users will not need to change any equipment.

Different suppliers have different boxes but they all have similar functionality. For those who do not want the internet, there are also adapters which just have a fibre input and a phone outlet.

This is what they are providing for the switchover test areas where they have already stopped the RTC
RTC = réseau téléphoniquecommuté = public switched telephone network PSTN

1 Like