ART launches a public consultation to identify concerns raised by the intervention of local communities in the area of high-speed telecommunications networks and to publish guidelines for conducting such projects

Paris, 12 July 2004

The promulgation of the law for trust in the digital economy now makes it easier for local communities to take part in the establishment and operation of telecommunications networks. The new article L. 1425-1 of the General Regional Government Code (Code général des collectivités territoriales), allows regions, departements and municipalities to establish or subsidise the establishment of telecommunications networks, in particular when private investments are not sufficient to equip their areas with digital networks.

Greater room for manoeuvre for local governments in establishing and operating networks is a definite opportunity to provide access for as many citizens as possible to competitive high-speed offers, and to ensure quick and harmonious development of the information society.

Moreover, public intervention will likely have a considerable impact on the operation of markets and on the environment of commercial players, given the significant amounts of public investments which will be required in coming years. Thus, the legal, technical and economic means used by local governments are a natural part of the search for synergies between public and private investments.

Conscious of the opportunities and concerns that the implementation of the new legislative framework represents for all players, whether public or private, ART is offering them the opportunity to dialogue and compare their analyses and intervention strategies, in a public consultation. Some of the subjects which will be discussed are:

  • the objectives of the intervention of local communities

  • various technical, legal and economic packages

  • competition issues

  • ART's place in the programme

The elements collected will be used to establish a number of guidelines to be drawn up in autumn 2004, which might be useful to public and private players in devising local projects, in order to help them best reconcile public action and competition.