ART gives its opinion on France Telecom's offers for pour high-speed Internet access

12 July 1999

Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) was asked by France Telecom to express its opinion on its Internet access offers using ADSL. This data transmission technique over copper telephone lines provides permanent high-speed Internet access, with no time limits, for a fixed fee.

These offers, on which ART published its opinion on 7 July, are the basis of France Telecom's ADSL program on which Internet service providers (ISPs) will base their services:

- Netissimo, an end-use service providing access to ISPs via an ADSL line

- Turbo IP, an ISP offer providing access to ADSL allowing them to offer their services to Netissimo customers

ART was also informed of the decision of the Conseil de la concurrence dated 23 June 1999, which ordered France Telecom Interactive not to launch its ADSL high-speed service before early November 1999. This is France Telecom's ISP offer.

a) A favourable opinion dependent on certain conditions for the zones suggested by France Telecom

France Telecom's proposal concerns opening Netissimo only in the first six arrondissements in Paris and in the suburbs of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Vanves and Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Wishing to allow consumers to benefit from these offers without delay, ART gave a favourable opinion on this proposal as long is all ISP's had equal access, so that customers can freely choose their Internet service provider.

Four conditions were set to guarantee equality:

1) in accordance with the decision of the Conseil de la concurrence, France Telecom must provide to those ISPs requesting it, information they require to put in place their ADSL Internet access offers, 15 weeks prior to opening its ADSL services in a given zone. ISPs not involved in France Telecom's ADSL trials should thus be able to launch their own offers at the same time as Wanadoo

2) France Telecom must market its Netissimo service and Internet access services (Wanadoo or other) separately, and it must inform its clients or prospective clients equally of the ISPs accessible via ADSL

3) France Telecom must offer ISPs, in their Turbo IP contract, the possibility of indirectly marketing Netissimo

4) France Telecom must not make access to Netissimo dependent on the customer's subscription to telephone service

b) The possibility for third party operators to provide the same type of services as Netissimo and Turbo IP

In France Telecom's plan, even though several ISPs can offer high-speed access, the diversity of their offers will be limited because of the large number of parameters which will be set by France Telecom: speeds, service quality, access control, IP address assignment, etc.

In order to diversify offers and bring prices down, other operators need to be able to offer services which are similar to Netissimo and Turbo IP, while controlling the technical and commercial aspects which are essential to these services.

France Telecom will have to create an offer which will allow third party operators to provide such services; thus, equal access for all operators at a sufficiently unbundled level to France Telecom' local loop is necessary.

c) Extending the offer

ART asked that any extension of ADSL services beyond the initial areas proposed today be submitted to ART for approval. Therefore, France Telecom will be responsible for the extension timetable.

When it publishes its opinion on any extension proposal, ART will ensure that France Telecom:

- respects the four conditions set to guarantee equality among ISPs, listed above, and

- provides third party operators with an offer allowing them to create services of the same type as Netissimo and Turbo IP

It will use the review it has requested of France Telecom of the first few months of marketing ADSL services, as well as the experiences of operators and ISPs.

Until then, ART will share its conclusions based on the consultation which will soon close on the various unbundling methods, an element which will be indispensable to the effective development of competition on the local loop.