CASE. “There are still obstacles to fiber”, believes Jean-Luc Lemmens

CASE. “There are still obstacles to fiber”, believes Jean-Luc Lemmens

Jean-Luc Lemmens, president of Idate: “The old landline telephone is the tool that reassures”.

For the president of Idate, an independent digital consulting firm based in Montpellier, the end of the landline is inevitable.

What place does the landline hold in the minds of individuals today??

Today, in French homes, there are two networks in parallel: the fiber network, which is being deployed almost everywhere, and the good old copper network. Ultimately, the copper network will disappear, which will allow operators like Orange to save money. Because deploying fiber is relatively expensive. Just like dismantling the copper network, because you have to send guys to dismantle it. This is why the incumbent operators would like this to be spread out a little more over time.

Then the copper network has not yet disappeared. There are still millions of people, especially those who are least comfortable with digital technology, who still have the right copper telephone. These people are told that from such a date, we will turn off the copper network. There is no landline anymore. We will then offer them alternative solutions: we will deploy fiber to their homes, even for those who still have a landline. A technician will go to their house and run the cables through the wall. A bit like it was done at the time for our grandparents in the 50s, 60s, 70s. And there, some will not agree that we make holes in their walls. It’s reductive, but it’s reality.

Why this reluctance?

This may lead some to wonder if they still need the landline. Besides also the fact that they don't want fiber in their homes. There are some. But the interest of this very infrastructural subject is convergence. This is a major trend in our country: customers are moving towards offers combining landline and mobile. Operators offer to combine landline and mobile services under one bill.

What's the point when you still have your landline ?

You find yourself faced with a service where ultimately your voice comes through your smartphone, because it’s the simplest tool as long as you have good coverage at home. Today, there are voice over wifi systems. This means that your mobile phone, used at home, does not connect to the mobile network or to antennas that are far from home, but to your wifi terminal directly. Your calls go through your box.

There is then a disappearance of the border between fixed and mobile. But people, in fact, don't care. What they want is to have a service that works. And tomorrow, it is more than likely that the old landline telephone that you still have at home, in your living room, on its terminal, will no longer be of any use. But will continue to make your calls directly, through your box or the mobile network, with the smartphone.

Is it useful to keep your telephone landline?

Even if, with fiber, we have the assurance of having a network that will always work, there are always people who always want to have a good connection. The old landline telephone is the tool that reassures. To, tomorrow, call the firefighters or deal with the battery of your smartphone which is discharged. It’s more a question of security, that’s reassuring. But, eventually, the landline telephone will disappear. It’s a question of generations. A generational movement that takes some time. Young teenagers have never known landline.

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