Today, Arcep presented the first scorecard of the “J’alerte l’Arcep” user reporting platform, after one year of operation and 34,000 alerts.
Announced in Arcep’s 2016 Strategic roadmap, the “J’alerte l’Arcep” platform launched in late October 2017: it allows any user, whether an individual, a business or a local authority, to report a malfunction they have encountered in their relationship with their fixed or mobile telephone operator, internet service provider or postal operator.
- For users: to create an opportunity for their experience to influence market regulation, to encourage operators to improve their services and further develop their networks. It also allows users to rapidly obtain advice tailored to their circumstances;
- For Arcep, to enable it to track the problems encountered by users in real time. The ability to draw on recurrent malfunctions, and detect both spikes in user alerts and weak signals to target its actions, and to be more effective in its regulatory actions aimed at operators.
Arcep received close to 34,000 complaints in one year: close to five times more than in the years preceding the launch of “J’alerte l’Arcep”, including 28,000 posted directly to the platform. The other complaints were received through other channels (mail, phone calls).
Some were as easy to solve as “making a call,” while others required the full repressive arsenal to be deployed: a snapshot of the regulator’s actions
These reports enabled Arcep to examine several concrete cases and, depending on the problems encountered, to employ the various instruments at its disposal: issue a warning, investigation launched by the Arcep body responsible for settling disputes, legal proceedings and investigations (RDPI), in accordance with the provisions of Article L. 36-11 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE) which, if applicable, can result in penalties for the operator in question, etc. In several instances, the complaints that were received allowed Arcep to appeal to the operators involved in real time, and to find a rapid solution. To give an example: the actions that Arcep took in response to the complaints received from several users enabled the swift resolution of the difficulties that users were having in accessing a video streaming platform from a certain operator’s network.
In its scorecard, Arcep details several concrete cases stemming from the alerts sent by users, and the subsequent measures it took. For instance:
- Alerts regarding the quality of the universal service. Arcep’s RDPI issued Orange with a formal notice in October, demanding that it comply with its universal service obligations and, to help the situation to improve quickly, also introduced a dedicated mechanism for the seven most problematic indicators, setting target values to be met during the last two months of 2018, and on a quarterly basis in 2019;
- Complaints regarding the fixed number portability problems that users were encountering with operator SFR: Arcep opened an investigation based on the provisions of CPCE Article L. 36-11;
- User complaints about issues they were having in their relationship with business market operator, Ciel Telecom, notably over fixed number portability: Arcep began a dialogue with the operator, which became subject to increased oversight.
Arcep making ongoing improvements thanks to data-driven regulation
This platform is also making it possible to ascertain users’ expectations with respect to 4G and superfast fixed broadband services, which has served to reinforce Arcep’s commitment to supporting and accelerating the process of making regional digital coverage a top priority.
“J’alerte l’Arcep” – along with the “Mon réseau mobile” map-base site and a tool devoted to fixed networks that is currently being developed – is part of a data-driven approach to regulation that Arcep initiated in the wake of its 2016 Strategic review: turning every user into a mini-regulator, serving the common good and bolstering the country’s connectivity.
In light of what was learned during this first year of operation, Arcep will continue to improve its reporting platform in 2019, with a view to maximising its ability to respond to and utilise the alerts, and to better categorise the problems encountered.