ARCEP submits a draft decision on monitoring the quality of internet access and wireline telephony services to public consultation

Paris, 1st June 2012

Today ARCEP is submitting a draft decision on measuring and publishing quality of service (QoS) indicators for internet access and wireline calling to public consultation.

Monitoring the quality of internet access services is part of the efforts that ARCEP has been devoting to Net neutrality since 2009. In 2011, it was the focus of widespread discussions with market stakeholders, which culminated in a first public consultation in 2012 – of which a summary and the contributions are being published today.

This process of monitoring the quality of internet access services will allow consumers to obtain clear and comparable information on the actual, measured QoS of the services provided by the different fixed ISPs. As part of its work on Net neutrality, the regulator will be able to track the overall quality level of the services and ensure that it remains satisfactory. From a preventative standpoint, this system will also enable ARCEP to evaluate opportunities to set minimum QoS requirements. These issues were already laid out in the draft report to Parliament and the Government which ARCEP submitted to public consultation on 16th May.

Taking account of the responses to the consultations, the draft decision sets the QoS indicators for internet access services that will be measured and made public by every ISP concerned, and according to different categories of access defined in the decision (speed, web traffic, video traffic, latency, packet loss), and defines the framework for performing and publishing these measurements.

Under the existing legal framework, operators are required to perform these measurements in accordance with the terms defined by ARCEP in this decision.

In addition, ARCEP plans on implementing and financing, independently of operators, an additional system of measurements that will enable any internet users to measure the quality of their internet access service. If it believes it would be useful, ARCEP will publish a report on these additional metrics.

For the sake of transparency and coordination, a technical committee chaired by ARCEP and comprised of operators, user associations and independent experts is being formed. Among other things, it will be responsible for setting the technical modalities for performing the different measurements, for monitoring the implementation of the measurement system and for verifying its operation and output.

The first results are expected to be published in 2013.

The draft decision being subject to public consultation also covers the quality of fixed telephony services, whose measurement is currently governed by Decision No. 2008-1362 of 4 December 2008. In light of the experience acquired from this process, the decision suggests improvements for increasing the relevance of the indicators.

The public consultation being launched today is the first step towards the Authority’s adoption of the decision, which will then need to be approved by the Minister responsible for electronic communications.

The draft decision being subject to consultation is available (in French) for download on the ARCEP website. Interested parties must send their comments by 3 July 2012.