8 February 2001
Access to the local loop is of primary concern for the development of competition in France.
Over the past two years, ART has been involved in a major discussion process in order to create conditions which are favourable to the implementation of local loop access. A public consultation conducted in 1999 highlighted the issues and the possible ways in which access could be created. A working group created in February 2000 and chaired by Alain Bravo analysed in depth all the operational and technical issues. In light of the group's work, ART published recommendations in October 2000 on the implementation of access to the local loop, as well as guidelines on how to ensure prices are cost oriented.
This approach was reaffirmed by the decree dated 12 September 2000 which invited France Telecom to prepare a reference offer, which was published on 22 November.
At the same time, the European Union has been examining measures on how it can encourage the implementation of unbundling in the various Member States. A rule of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers dated 18 December defines the extent and framework of unbundling access to the local loop. This text states, in particular, that national regulatory authorities have the power to impose modifications (when justified) to the reference offer for unbundled access to the local loop and related resources, including prices.
Based on this, ART considers it necessary to ask that France Telecom make modifications to its reference offer on certain major points, in accordance with article 4 of the rule. Discussions with France Telecom have shown that the operator is already considering modifying some of these aspects.
Main provisions of ART's decision
a) For services
ART asks that France Telecom include in its reference offer an additional service creating new lines which is done by joining existing trunks and may require the deployment of an additional customer drop cable between the concentration point and the network terminal point. This provision aims to ensure the most efficient use of existing investments in the distribution network.
Moreover, ART has defined the provisions to be implemented in making adjustments to buildings and equipment justified by colocation on a site shared by France Telecom and new operators. On this points, ART was also guided by the desire for speed in the effective implementation of unbundling.
b) For prices
ART asks that France Telecom modify several prices in its reference offer to ensure they more closely reflect costs.
The costs concerned are those for full unbundled access, shared access and service access charges which must not be greater than FRF 95, FRF 40 and FRF 708, respectively.
These technical and pricing measures are fully compatible with those already implemented in several Member States of the European Union. They should encourage the development of high-speed Internet access thanks to the deployment of ADSL by as many operators as possible.