Paris, 27 November 2015
At a time when businesses' operations are increasingly digital, their connectivity needs are growing and changing. To ensure that digital networks fulfil their crucial role of enabler of this transformation, ARCEP has created a forum for learning and discussion in the form of business workshops for market stakeholders, and for business federations in particular in their capacity of end-users' representatives.
ARCEP Board member, Pierre-Jean BENGHOZI, worked on preparing this initiative which ARCEP announced on 24 June of this year. An initiative that will help enhance ARCEP's perspective on the enterprise market, which has been identified as a priority topic in the strategic review that is currently underway.
In due course, ARCEP will be taking regulatory measures to facilitate businesses, and particularly SME's, access to digital networks. Understanding the issues at hand, thanks to these business workshops, constitutes a vital first step.
The first workshop, which took place yesterday, provided an opportunity to discuss the current needs of businesses. To obtain a more detailed diagnosis, a qualitative report commissioned by ARCEP - which consisted of interviews with 50 companies with a staff of between five and 100 employees - was presented to the stakeholders in attendance.
The main findings contained in this report include:
- digital network (fixed, mobile, data) are vital to businesses' operations, for their internal management and, more generally, their ability to compete;
- all businesses, and particularly the smallest among them, have a poor understanding of this market, the content of available plans is unclear, and the vendors poorly identified;
- businesses have expressed a need for reliable information on network performance and quality of service;
- companies find it difficult to switch plans or operators for several reasons, starting with their reluctance to do so out of concern over the possible negative effects on their business (e.g. being without service), and contractual obligations that result in high cancellation costs;
- a number of businesses, and particularly the smallest among them, would be in favour of out-of-court redress procedures for settling disputes that arise with their operator.
At the end of this first workshop, it was agreed that a roadmap would be established to formalise the conclusions reached during the discussions, to perform an inventory of existing initiatives and to identify a future action plan. This roadmap, which will be drafted in tandem with the ecosystem's stakeholders, could be presented at a second workshop to be held in early March or April of next year.
Two very short-term action plans have already been put into place to:
- provide businesses with educational material, notably the smallest ones, which could take the form of a buyer's guide, fact sheets and a glossary of digital network terminology;
- coordinate and promote the mechanisms used to detect and resolve contractual and relationship problems (individual and collective mediation) that arise between the electronic communications sector's economic stakeholders.
ARCEP hopes that this joint construction process initiated with the ecosystem's stakeholders, and particularly user representatives, will help create a market environment that facilitates businesses' access to the digital world.
ARCEP extends its thanks to the following organisations which took part in this inaugural workshop:
MEDEF, CGPME, CIGREF, AFUTT, EBEN, CINOV-IT, SYNTEC NUMERIQUE, AFNUM, FFT, ANSSI, DGE, DGCCRF, MEDIATEUR DES COMMUNICATIONS ELECTRONIQUES, MEDIATION INTER-ENTREPRISES.