THD92 is a massive local government fiber project in the suburbs close to Paris. I wrote in depth about it back in 2007 when it was announced, but not much happened since then. The pending ruling by the EC didn't look too favourable.
But last week, to my surprise, the project was validated by the EC, using the new and recently released guidelines on state aid. I won't comment on the fortuity of these new rules applying to a project strongly sponsored by the French president, but I will say that it looks like I was a little severe in judging how the state aid rules would be applied. Some comments were made to me that I was being too devious in interpreting some of the wording in the guideline document, and it seems these comments were legitimate.
If I understand the ruling correctly, what it essentially says is that by deploying a truly open dark fiber infrastructure and by using public money in amounts that correspond only to what would be needed to cover non-commercially viable areas, the THD92 project does not break state aid rules.
Now all that remains to be done is… everything! Considering Numéricable is one of the key participants in the deployment consortium and considering their cash-lean situation, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. It will also be interesting to see if Orange, Free and SFR who are said to be actively deploying in this departement will slow down or accelerate.
In any case, the most crucial aspect of this project is, as always, to connect Colombes.