ARCEP closes the administrative investigation opened in December 2006

Paris, 21 June 2007

History

In its unbundling market analysis decision, ARCEP considered it necessary to require France Telecom to propose a fibre leasing offer which would allow alternative operators to unbundled their remote distribution frames.

In April 2006, France Telecom proposed a first version of its offer, called "optical fibre leasing" (LFO). In September 2006, France Telecom published a second version of the offer, which was, in principle better suited to the expectations of alternative operators.

From 5 October to 24 November 2006, ARCEP organised a public consultation to evaluate whether this second version was satisfactory. On completion of this consultation, ARCEP identified four areas worthy of investigation:

  • the absence of the provision of prior information, in particular the list of fibred distribution frames and the network in map form
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  • a study frequency which was considered insufficient with respect to the needs of alternative operators and with respect to that which France Telecom conducted for its own needs
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  • the application of restrictive engineering rules, especially the reservation of a certain number of fibres for France Telecom’s own needs and the lack of desaturation services
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  • the possibility of a discretionary application of engineering rules by territory and in particular the existence of public initiative networks
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ARCEP opened an administrative investigation on 19 December 2006 based on article L. 32-4. The investigation ran from January to April 2007 and included an audit phase of France Telecom’s internal processes and a counter-study phase of the results provided by France Telecom to alternative operators.

In May 2007, France Telecom proposed improvements to its "optical fibre leasing" offer, which ARCEP has taken into consideration in decidiing what will be done in the next stages of the investigation.

On prior information

France Telecom agents use local maps of the transmission network for FT’s programming and planning needs and to conduct LFO studies. Using FT database extractions, ARCEP was able to establish maps indicating the availability of fibre, département by département, under reservation of possible reservations or work.

France Telecom proposed that the maps of this type be used as a basis for discussion between France Telecom and the alternative operators during the programming phase of the feasibility studies.

On the frequency of eligibility studies

The investigation showed that the frequency at which eligibility studies were conducted was limited on the one hand by France Telecom’s production capacity, and by the necessary allocation of resources between its own needs and those of alternative operators, on the other. France Telecom proposed increasing the LFO offer study frequency by 50%.

On engineering rules

ARCEP was able to evaluate the impact of the engineering rules used by France Telecom for its LFO offer. The purpose was to evaluate the effect of reserving fibres for FT’s own needs on availability for the LFO offer.

Counter studies showed that certain legs of FT’s network are saturated both for alternative operators through the LFO offer and for FT’s own needs.

France Telecom has proposed changing its offer on the saturated legs of the network (informing operators on saturated sections and information for two years of desaturation projects for these sections).

On the possibility of discretionary treatment

ARCEP has conducted a process audit. ARCEP identified nothing which would lead it to suppose that France Telecom had instructed its agents to give discretionary or inequitable answers to requests for fibre optic leasing requests.

The results of the counter studies conducted by ARCEP using FT databases on a sample of test zones converge with the results transmitted by France Telecom to alternative operators on these same zones.

Therefore, the hypothesis that FT is providing discretionary treatment in the territories is invalidated.

Conclusion

At this point, given the elements collected in the study and the improvements made by France Telecom, ARCEP does not consider it necessary to regulate the "optical fibre leasing" offer proposed by France Telecom to alternative operators on a commercial basis, in the framework of the unbundling reference offer.


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