Axione bridges digital divide through public-private partnerships
Axione is keen on exporting its superfast broadband network know-how to markets in Asia through partnerships and infrastructure investment collaborations
[Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports www.discoveryreports.com]
The strong demand for digital services in sectors such as health, education, entertainment and economic development has led to the emergence of alternative networks and the creation of a competitive wholesale communications market. In France, the last decade saw the widespread deployment of broadband networks even in sparsely populated areas. These public initiative networks (PINs) have stimulated investments as the expanded broadband availability connects businesses and the public sector.
Establishing itself as one of the leading companies on the PIN market, Axione has been working with local authorities in France since 2004 to help implement the government’s digital planning and development projects. The digital infrastructure specialist has retained its neutrality as it operates 20 PINs through concession-type contracts and public-private partnerships. To date, Axione serves 6,500 communities composed of 7 million residents and 310,000 businesses worth around €2 billion (HK$19.33 billion) in investments.
“We created the company to work as a neutral wholesale operator that partners with the local authorities,” says Jacques Beauvois, executive vice-president and co-founder. “We want to deliver high-speed broadband coverage to rural areas in partnership with local authorities and equity investors.”
By supporting and making it easier for telecommunications companies and digital service providers to enter the market, Axione stimulates competition and innovation through long-term planning services. Designing, building, operating and maintaining fixed and mobile networks, the company manages public digital services effectively by not owning any infrastructure. It also does not target the retail market directly, but is committed to providing a fast broadband service that is accessible to all through internet service providers and mobile operators. Ensuring excellent user experiences at all times, Axione continuously invests in process equipment and tools to offer relevant solutions.
“We bring together the private and public worlds by bridging the local authority requirements and the telecommunication operators,” says Dominique Astier, executive vice-president and co-founder. “We offer a one-stop solution that features design and project management capabilities upheld by solid relationships.”
Axione’s holistic business model is distinct in France. As a pioneer in the field of regional digital infrastructure planning and development, it was the first company to deploy “fibre to the home” or FTTH in an urban area with more than 100,000 residents. It was instrumental in bringing DSL to rural areas and deploying 4G WiMAX solutions in the country. It also led the application of micro-trenching civil engineering techniques to deploy aggregation networks, and fibre optic on aerial electric networks.
“Our success is founded on teamwork and commitment,” Beauvois says. “We have kept our start-up culture while being supported by a stable and large group. We continue to push hard to keep our strong team spirit.”
A subsidiary of Bouygues Energies & Services – an expert in energy performance and services and a leading European company in the areas of street lighting and facilities management – Axione delivers turnkey solutions and security in the procurement and development of Bouygues’ solar farms in Asia.
With projects lined up in Britain, Ireland, Gabon and the Ivory Coast, Axione is keen on exporting its super-fast broadband network know-how to markets in Asia through partnerships and infrastructure investment collaborations. Through these projects, Axione supports and encourages the local economy. It also contributes to developing local businesses and creating sustainable jobs through training particularly for long-term unemployed people.
“Digital services are transforming society today, and to deliver a good customer or user experience in digital services, a very high-level, high-quality, and high-bandwidth digital infrastructure is required,” Beauvois says. “This is what we provide, and we bring security to all stakeholders – the local authorities, telecommunication operators and equity investors – because we are highly experienced
in covering the latest digital developments in France.”