Paris, 9th June 2011
The French Electronic communications and postal regulatory authority issued its decision on the dispute it was called upon to settle by the firm Towercast, on 15th February 2011, pursuant to the provisions in Article L. 36-8 of the French Postal and electronic communications code, CPCE (code des postes et des communications électroniques). The dispute was between Towercast and the company TDF, and concerned radio broadcasting services.
Subject of the dispute
During a new licence awards procedure for FM radio frequencies that was carried out by the French Broadcasting Authority, CSA (Conseil supérieur de audiovisuel), in the Rhône-Alpes region, the company Towercast had requested that TDF grant it access to its "Grande Jeanne" site on the Semnoz mountain in Annecy, to be able to provide broadcasting services to radio broadcasters in the region.
Towercast considered that the "Grande Jeanne" site currently operated by TDF was the only relevant location in the Annecy region, given the town of Annecy's geographical restrictions and the Broadcasting Authority's technical prescriptions.
TDF refused to grant this request, considering that there were other sites that enabled equally optimal broadcasting of the frequencies in the Annecy region.
Based on the elements provided by the parties, and the decision issued by CSA on 12th April 2011, citing CPCE Article L. 36-8, ARCEP considers that no other site in the Annecy region makes it possible to replicate, in a satisfactory manner, the conditions provided by the "Grande Jeanne" site operated by TDF. The Authority also points out that Towercast does not have the option of deploying a site that would be collocated with the "Grande Jeanne" site on the Semnoz mountain. ARCEP therefore concluded that it was fair to demand that TDF grant the access request submitted by Towercast, provided it is technically feasible.
ARCEP also considers that the pricing terms that TDF offers Towercast must comply with the principles of non-discrimination, objectivity, relevance and efficiency, and not create a price squeeze in relation to the offers that TDF markets to radio broadcasters.
Given the timetable for the FM radio frequency licensing procedure launched by CSA in the Rhône-Alpes region, it seems justified to demand that TDF supply Towercast with the requested offer within three weeks' time, starting from 8th June 2011.
ARCEP Decision No. 2011-0596 (pdf - 1.15 Mo), dated 7th June 2011, concerning a request to settle a dispute between the companies Towercast and TDF (pdf - - in French)