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Close up of a fibre optic cable

A network of opportunities

High-speed internet is vital. Those without access are denied the opportunity to work, communicate, discover new information and maintain friendships. A poor internet service also affects the national economy.

France has one of the least developed broadband networks in Europe, and speeds vary in unpredictable ways. People living in rural and hard-to-reach areas, many of them vulnerable or elderly, often struggle to make a reliable connection.

Opportunity

The French government is seeking to make fast broadband access available to all. The Grand Est Broadband PPP – France’s largest broadband project – was initiated to offer high-speed internet connectivity to more than one million households and businesses throughout the country. The lenders consulted our team based in Paris for technical advisory and due diligence services.

Solution

Our knowledge of the local broadband market and experience of the risk and opportunity profile of similar developments was crucial to the success of this project. We mobilised quickly, with a multi-disciplinary and global team of digital technical specialists, civil engineers, socio-economic and environmental analysts and infrastructure finance experts.

We analysed the project risk profile and advised the lenders on potential technical challenges related to contract documentation, design and construction planning. Connected thinking, through close collaboration with the lenders, legal advisors and stakeholders, enabled challenges to be examined from new angles and solutions agreed that secure the best outcome for everyone impacted by the programme.

Our experts developed a bespoke tool based on national population density data to calculate the cost of each high-speed connection or ‘plug’ in each area. The tool was used to validate the business case. It is a valuable resource and will support the evaluation of similar projects in future. We’re now monitoring construction in an ongoing role.

Outcome

We’re proud to have helped secure investment in this vital expansion of the fibre-optic broadband network in France, which will bring super-fast connection to the doorsteps of more than 1 million residences in rural areas by 2022. To date, the project is the largest broadband PPP to have reached financial close, and represents EUR 1.3bn worth of investments.

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