Copper Network

Once upon a time, there was a copper network

The Orange copper network covers all of France, providing telephone and internet connection.

The copper local loop is the part of this network that runs from the subscriber’s telephone socket to the Subscriber Connection Node (SCN), also called the main distribution frame, which is a central point for all the subscriber lines in the area that it serves. Its physical medium is a twisted pair of copper wires that transports voice and data depending on the frequency band. An optical backbone interconnects almost all SCNs.

Operators can access the Orange copper network in three ways: unbundling, DSL Access or Bitstream, and Subscription Wholesale (SW).


The Decree of 12 September 2000 that opened the telecommunications sector to competition required Orange to implement unbundling from its local loop and to allow other Operators to sub-let the local loop in part or in full. This means that Operators can access the telephone sockets of end customers and offer their own services.

The number of unbundled Subscriber Connection Nodes (SCNs) continues to increase in response to the rising demand from Operators. Today, more than 91% of lines can be unbundled, and there are around 12 million internet connections provided through unbundled access.

Orange offers two types of unbundling:

  • full unbundling: this gives Operators access to the entire frequency band of the twisted pair, and therefore to both voice and xDSL flows. In this case, IP telephony, internet and television access, and Video on Demand (VOD) services, are managed exclusively by the Operator who has subscribed to unbundling. This Operator is the only point of contact with the end customer.
  • partial unbundling: this gives Operators access to the high frequency band of the twisted pair, and therefore only to xDSL flows. This allows data transmission and related services such as the internet, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), television, and Video On Demand (VOD). Orange retains the low frequency of the twisted pair used for analogue voice transmission. The subscriber retains their telephone subscription with Orange, and internet and data services are provided and billed by the Operator who has entered into partial unbundling.

xDSL or Bitstream Access

Orange Wholesale France is also offering a DSL Access service built on the network managing the Orange xDSL flows and that allows Operators, particularly in areas with no unbundling, to offer VoIP, internet and television services to their end customers.

There are several types of xDSL technology, such as Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) and Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL), which enable a superfast broadband connection up to 50 Mbit/s.

For professional use, a permanent connection to an efficient, reliable network enabling customers to grow their businesses in optimal, sustainable conditions, is provided by Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) technology, which delivers a broadband connection up to 20 Mbit/s. 

In 2014, 99.5% of copper lines were eligible for broadband service.

The extensive coverage and quality of the copper network deployed by Orange allows its customers to establish high-quality telephone and xDSL access throughout France.

Subscription Wholesale

Operators can also offer telephone subscription to their end customers under the same conditions as Orange customers using the Orange Wholesale France Subscription Wholesale (SW) service. Their customers’ traffic is therefore routed to their network.

Orange Wholesale France is also offering a Subscription and Traffic Wholesale (STW) service that lets operators offer a telephone service to their end customers, even if they don’t have a telephone network.

Related solutions

Use Orange’s local network to offer telecommunications and broadband services to your customers.

Market broadband access solutions on the copper network under your own name, and add collection and delivery services for your DSL accesses in Ethernet or IP mode.

Develop access solutions for your business clients.

Market a comprehensive fixed-line telephony solution under your own name, including complete management of Orange’s fixed Switched Telephone Network (STN) access.

Market a comprehensive fixed-line telephony solution under your own name.

Connect your specialised sites using copper accesses.

The Ethernet network is the perfect option if you want to meet the needs of your business clients, while keeping down the costs of developing your network. With our Core Ethernet solutions, you will be using standardised, proven technology and benefit from Orange’s commitment to a phased deployment of Gigabit Ethernet DSLAM in its network.

Interconnect your national sites thanks to broadband digital data transmission.

Increase your throughput in areas where a fibre optic project has yet to be implemented.

Meet the specific needs of mobile Operators looking for an easy way to increase their throughput.