Paris, 17th June 2011
According to the Friday, 17th June issue of La Lettre A, the Government is preparing legislation whose purpose is to merge regulatory authorities ARCEP (electronic communications and postal affairs), CSA (broadcasting) and HADOPI (distribution and protection of works on the Internet), and that ARCEP departments were "already working on it".
As far as it is concerned, ARCEP formally denies that it is participating in any such endeavour.
Moreover, in response to a proposal that had been made to undertake such a merger, as part of a report on the independent administrative authorities drafted by Members of Parliament, René Dosière and Christian Vanneste, and published on 28th October 2010, the Chairman of ARCEP had stated, during an interview with the MPs, that countries where a single authority was in charge of both electronic communications and audiovisual media were those where regulation of media content was either non-existent as it is forbidden by the constitution - as is the case in the United States - or very limited, as is the case in the UK. In instances such as those, the public authority's chief function in the realm of media is to assign frequencies. This is of course not the case in France where the Law of 1986 stipulates considerable obligations with respect to the content of broadcasters' programmes, whose compliance is verified ex ante and ex post by CSA. The electronic communications regulatory authority does not and could not have any powers in this area.
More recently still, on 17th May 2011, when interviewed by members of Parliament on the follow-up to the report of 28th October 2010, Government spokesperson, Frédéric Lefèbvre, confirmed that such a merger was neither necessary nor advisable.
And, finally, if in early January 2011 Eric Besson requested that ANFR, which is responsible for spectrum allocation, ARCEP and CSA work together to examine how to optimise management of publicly-owned spectrum (a report that is currently in the works), the minister was careful to point out that the goal was not to then undertake a merge of the three entities.
Also worth remembering is that two of these bodies are independent administrative authorities, both of which are responsible for protecting fundamental freedoms - freedom of communication in the media and freedom of access to electronic communications services, pursuant to the Constitutional Council's Decision of 10th June 2009 - while the third, ANFR, is a public establishment operating under government supervision.