ARCEP adopts two fundamental decisions concerning ultra-fast broadband network rollouts

Paris, December 15th 2010
 
The Authority has adopted two decisions, one setting the regulatory framework for fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollouts across France, outside of high-density areas, and the second establishing certain terms of eligibility to receive financial aid from the digital regional development fund, FANT (fonds d’aménagement numérique du territoire), for deploying infrastructure and networks to supply ultra-fast broadband access in these parts of the country.
 
Framework governing FTTH outside of high-density areas  
 
The decision adopted by ARCEP was issued in accordance with the Law on modernising the economy (2008) and the law concerning efforts to bridge the digital divide (2009). It specifies the terms and conditions governing access to ultra-fast broadband optical fibre electronic communications lines in the whole of France outside of high-density areas.
 
This is the culmination of a lengthy consultation process and takes account of remarks received from the French Competition authority and from the European Commission, all which enabled ARCEP to amend and complete its draft decision, especially concerning the details of local authorities’ projects.
 
This decision was submitted to the Minister responsible for electronic communications for approval. It marks a new stage in the definition of the regulatory framework governing FTTH network rollouts – following through on a first decision issued in late 2009 which set general rules that applied to the entire country, and specific regulation that applied to high-density areas only. The French market is therefore the first in Europe to have a complete regulatory framework for optical fibre ultra-fast broadband network rollouts – a framework that will allow public and private sector stakeholders to extend their investments to the whole of the country.
 
ARCEP continues to work actively on this issue to provide more details on the implementation modalities of the decisions mentioned earlier, and particularly on co-investment schemes, as soon as possible.
 
In addition, in the coming weeks ARCEP will be submitting its draft analysis of markets 4 and 5 to the Competition authority for feedback, being especially mindful of ensuring the complementarity and consistency of the planned asymmetrical regulation and existing symmetrical regulations.
 
 
Accessibility and openness of the infrastructure and networks eligible for FANT financing
 
Article 24 of Law no. 2009-1572 of 17 December 2009, concerning efforts to bridge the digital divide, provides for the creation of a digital regional development fund to help finance the deployment of ultra-fast broadband networks. The Law entrusts ARCEP with the task of defining the terms of accessibility and openness that the infrastructure and networks must satisfy to be eligible to receive financial aid from this fund.
 
The decision adopted in accordance with these provisions is based on the fundamental principle of technological neutrality. This means that an infrastructure is deemed accessible and open if it is provisioned in such a way as to enable the deployment of at least one ultra-fast broadband network that serves all of the users in the area. A network is deemed accessible and open if it allows operators to provide their customers with true end-to-end access to ultra-fast broadband, and if there is an effective passive access solution attached to that network.  
 
This decision, which is consistent with the regulatory framework that applies specifically to certain networks, notably FTTH ones, is part of the launch stage of the national ultra-fast broadband programme aimed at providing financial support for rollouts.
 
In accordance with the Law, ARCEP first solicited the views of local authorities’ representative associations and those of the French Competition authority, in addition to holding a public consultation – in particular with operators. A summary of this consultation, the responses received and the feedback from local authority associations are being made public, along with the ARCEP decision.



Linked documents

SmileyDécision n° 2010-1312 (pdf - 571 Ko) of 14 December 2010, specifying the terms and conditions governing access to ultra-fast broadband optical fibre electronic communications lines in the whole of France outside of high-density areas. Smiley  Smiley
SmileyDecision no. 2010-1314 (pdf - 332 Ko) of 14 December 2010, establishing the terms of eligibility for receiving financial aid from the digital regional development fund, FANT  Smiley  Smiley
SmileySynthèse de la consultation publique (pdf - 71 Ko) sur le projet de décision précisant les conditions d’accessibilité et d’ouverture des infrastructures et des réseaux éligibles à une aide du fonds d’aménagement numérique des territoires et contributions publiques des acteurs (zip - 4.28 Mo) Smiley