Orange’s Fiber Shenanigans

Fr-lgflag An interesting confluence of external communication and social unrest around Orange's FTTP plans in France. The first aspect of this is the following advert. I don't know how widespread the advert is, and I suspect it might not be anything more than an online video at this stage. It's the first video ad to mention FTTH though, albeit fleetingly. It's only in French, but I'll translate the text below: 

The talking track by various speakers says:

"I would like to enhance many things in life.I would like to communicate at the speed of light, to play with sounds, enter into images, inform myself, entertain myself, any way I want. But I would like for all that to stay simple. To be able to really take advantage of it I could just be content with waiting, but like 100 000 other people at Orange, I prefer to work on it each day (each day, each day) so that all of this becomes a reality. Fiber is available in 600 000 homes. Life changes with Orange. Thanks to all the Orange employees who participated to this clip." 

In itself, the ad is interesting. It's not so much an ad about fiber, really, it's more an image exercice for Orange, both internally and externally. By using employees for the ad and including this sentence "like 100 000 other people at Orange I prefer to work on it each day so that this becomes a reality", what Orange is really trying to say is that the social unrest and suicides of last year are behind, and that working at Orange is a fun, happy thing. It's an interesting way to use a product for a non product focused message (and it's probably why this isn't really about fiber). 

But it becomes more interesting when put in the context of a press release published by France Telecom unions CFE-CGC and UNSA. Here is an excerpt from the press release (as mentioned by Univers Freebox:

"Worse, at France Telecom, the deployment of fiber – which is starting again with a 2 bn euro invetsment programmed between now and 2015 – will be entirely sub-contracted. Indeed, the group has decided to outsource the full Fiber commericalization chain to Arvato. Orange clients will therefore never be in contact with the company's employees for the management of their very high speed subscription, the future of the fixed networks."

I don't know how accurate this is, and I haven't found any information to confirm or infirm that claim. If it's true however, it suggests that France Telecom is very far from having solved its social issues, and that they don't seem to be betting all that much on FTTP, at least not as a driver to reorganize the company…