Paris, 19 May 2011
The ultra-fast broadband fibre-to-the home (FTTH) networks are expanding quickly, and have already been deployed across more than 7,000 km of roadway in France. Although these rollouts are currently concentrated in the country's most densely populated cities, the regulatory framework set by ARCEP in late 2010, and brought into force in early 2011, will enable carriers to pursue their deployments this year in more sparsely populated locations.
A crucial part of ensuring that everyone can take advantage of the opportunities created by these new generation access networks involves bringing fibre from the street to inside customer premises. This stage of the rollout requires property (co)owners to sign an agreement with a carrier who will need to perform work inside the (potentially co-owned) property. This choice of "building operator" in no way impedes each of the building occupant's freedom to then choose their actual service provider.
A new practical and instructive handbook for property (co)owners
To ensure that property (co)owners, lessors, tenants and trustees are fully aware of the terms and conditions governing the deployment of FTTH networks (free installation, facility-sharing arrangements, etc.), today ARCEP is publishing a new version of its practical and informative handbook whose purpose is to increase users' awareness of the advantages of optical fibre, to provide details on the rollout process and to answer frequently asked questions.
This new version of the handbook was produced in collaboration with the different stakeholders, and particularly with consumer protection agency, CLCV (Consommation, Logement et Cadre de vie), consumer rights association and publication, UFC-Que Choisir, property owners association UNPI (Union nationale de la propriété immobilière) and the national federation of estate agents, FNAIM (Fédération nationale de l'immobilier).
In addition to a printed version that will be widely distributed, this handbook is also available (in French) online at: www.arcep.fr/fibre.
A new sample agreement (to be signed between property owners and the building operator)
After a series of exchanges with the representatives of property owners, developers, trustees and the main FTTH network operators, today ARCEP is also releasing a new version of the template for the type of agreement that it recommends property (co)owners sign with the carrier they have chosen to install optical fibre inside the premises.
This new agreement states explicitly that the carrier who has installed and fully financed the optical fibre network inside the building will be the sole owner of that network, and the sole party responsible for its upkeep and maintenance and for providing competing operators' with access to it. The agreement also stipulates that this operator will remain the owner of these installations after the initial agreement has expired (25 years), and that it must ensure a continuity of service until the network is potentially taken over by a new building operator.
Once this agreement has expired, the property (co)owners can choose not to renew their agreement with the building operator who will nevertheless retain ownership of the installed equipment. In such an instance, the property (co)owners will then be required to appoint a new building operator who could purchase the equipment from the previous operator, if it is willing, under terms and conditions agreed to by the two carriers. If no new building operator is appointed, the shared property could become the building operator, either by buying back the network from the previous operator or by financing the construction of a new network. It would therefore be required to comply with all of the obligations and procedures incumbent on all building operators under existing laws and regulations. Property owners would thus see little advantage in opting for this solution.
For ARCEP, the purpose of these new documents is to consolidate and bring more precision to the existing framework whose aim is to guarantee the rights of both property owners and operators investing in ultra-fast broadband networks.