ARCEP adopts a recommendation on implementing the obligation of completeness for fibre rollouts outside very high-density areas

Paris, 7 December 2015

There are tremendous local disparities between areas where optical fibre rollouts have been and will be performed. Rollouts in rural areas are especially subject to specific technical and operational constraints. Current regulations include an obligation of "completeness" for deployments that seek to guarantee full coverage of optical fibre service areas. As a result, it needs to made clear what providing complete coverage of an optical fibre service area means, particularly when that area includes isolated dwellings. Too strict an application of the completeness rule is indeed likely to dampen stakeholders' rollout ambitions in areas that contain a few isolated dwellings.

ARCEP therefore believes that a balance must be struck between the need to ensure that the rollouts performed are indeed complete and comprehensive, and the flexibility required to bring both public and private-initiative rollout projects to completion.
This issue was raised in the report that Paul Champsaur submitted to the Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs and to the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, upon completion of a task force on the transition to superfast networks and phasing out the legacy copper system(1).

ARCEP held a public consultation on its draft recommendation, which ran from 29 June to 18 September 2015 and which received 16 responses, in particular from operators and local authorities, which helped the Authority to sharpen its recommendation.

The recommendation adopted by ARCEP includes the terms and conditions for implementing the obligation of completeness in sparsely populated areas:

- ARCEP specifies the location of the last network connection point for isolated dwellings and groups of isolated dwellings;

- ARCEP also provides a roadmap for the different stages of a rollout, to guarantee that all of the homes in a given service area receive access to fibre within a reasonable timeframe.

1 - Task force on the transition to superfast networks and phasing out the legacy copper system, chaired by Mr Paul CHAMPSAUR, Final report, December 2014