Bouygues Telecom’s €2.5 Billion Investment in Two Strategic Fiber Network Projects

Willkie has advised French mobile operator Bouygues Telecom on the structuring, tender, development and non-recourse financing of two major fiber projects: Project Astérix and Project Saint-Malo.

Both projects are intended to adapt Bouygues Telecom’s infrastructure and operating model, in anticipation of 5G as well as growing bandwidth and storage needs for the next decade by providing a backbone fiber broadband network and securing competitive, efficient and reliable access to Fiber to the Home (FTTH), Fiber to the Office (FTTO) and Fiber To The Antenna (FTTA) lines in France.

To ensure the projects are implemented under the best contractual, technical and financial conditions and at the end of highly competitive tender processes, Bouygues Telecom selected a partner for each project: Cellnex Telecom for Project Saint Malo and Vauban Infrastructure Partners for Project Astérix.

Bouygues Telecom was joined by Cellnex Telecom for the rollout of a €1.2 billion fiber network across France. Bouygues Telecom and Cellnex respectively hold a 49% and a 51% stake in Nexloop, which has started to build and own a 31,500km fiber broadband network and 90 data processing centers. Bouygues Telecom has entered into a 30-year contract with Nexloop to use 70% of the new fiber network’s capacity to provide broadband to its customers, the remaining 30% being marketed to third-party operators.

Bouygues Telecom has formed a joint venture with Vauban Infrastructure Partners, who became the majority shareholder, for a €1.2 billion FTTH partnership. The company will hold the “IRU” rights in relation to Orange’s FTTH network in medium-density population areas in France (representing around 2 million FTTH connections). The company will then lease back access to Bouygues Telecom through a 30-year access agreement and to other retail broadband operators.

The Willkie deal team advising Bouygues Telecom was led by partner Amir Jahanguiri (Picture) and included associate Antoine Bouzanquet.

Involved fees earner: Antoine Bouzanquet – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Amir Jahanguiri – Willkie Farr & Gallagher;

Law Firms: Willkie Farr & Gallagher;

Clients: Bouygues Telecom;