Paris, 10 October 2008
To ensure that fibre rollouts take place under satisfactory competition conditions, following a public consultation with the players, ARCEP is publishing its preliminary recommendations, pursuant to the adoption of the Law on modernising the economy. ARCEP recommends the establishment of sharing of the last part agreements that include all operators, and which make it possible to test the different solutions in several large metropolitan areas. As an adjunct, ARCEP recommends a best practice whereby the building operator would offer to install additional last drop fibre on behalf of third-party operators. ARCEP has also published a sample agreement allowing joint property owners and social landlords to contract an operator to manage the fibre installation inside the premises.
The deployment of a new fibre local loop is a major technical, economic and competition challenge for our country. It represents a long-term investment over great many years and billions of euros, much as the deployment of the copper network did. As revealed in the responses to the public consultation, there are still a number of uncertainties concerning investment and operating costs, operational constraints and technological choices. These uncertainties are further accentuated by the inherent complexities of deploying a new local loop, in cooperation with competing operators.
Over the past 18 months, the Authority has led a series of technical and economic efforts aimed at establishing a framework that encourages investment in optical fibre local loops, while promoting a situation of lasting competition. A portion of these efforts have already entered the operational stage, while certain principles still need to be examined with respect to other issues. The public consultation launched before the summer, on the issue of sharing of the last part, helped deepen existing analyses. Through the elements being made public today, the Authority hopes that the first rollouts can be carried out with adherence to the principles of fair competition and technological neutrality.
Access to France Telecom ducts
On 15 September 2008, France Telecom published a reference offer for access to its civil infrastructure. This publication satisfies the obligation contained in the market analysis decision adopted by the Authority on 24 July of this year, which requires France Telecom to provide access to its civil infrastructure (ducts, manholes) under transparent and non-discriminatory conditions, and at cost-oriented tariffs.
The technical work and trials which began in autumn 2007 made it possible to create an operational offer, and confirmed a satisfactory level of available civil infrastructure. All operators, regardless of the technology they use, can now employ France Telecom ducts to deploy fibre.
Mutualising the last drop
The Law on modernising the economy, of 4 August 2008, introduces a principle of shared access to guarantee competition in the ultra-fast broadband market, without increasing the number of parties involved in installations on private property. The first operator to install fibre on the premises must thus satisfy all reasonable demands for access to the last drop of the network from third-party operators.
The implementation of this obligation encompasses several dimensions: methods for performing work on the premises, location of a shared access point, technical choices for the sharing of the last part process, informing third-party operators, etc. These are new issues to which the players are proposing a variety of solutions, and on which feedback from players with actual experience is still scarce.
For the launch stage, the Authority is in favour of allowing the players to find solutions, based on the recommendations being published today. The first agreements have already been signed, and still more will be required before all operators can begin their rollouts. The goal is to test the different solutions in several large metropolitan areas, in other words on a sufficiently large scale to obtain relevant results without undermining the subsequent stages.
In its recommendations, ARCEP supports a process whereby the first operator to equip a building offers to install additional fibre in the last drop on behalf of other operators. When applicable, this option would act as a complement to the other sharing of the last part solutions planned by the operators, and would be pre-financed by the interested parties. Because of the limited additional cost involved, and its compatibility with the technical choices of all operators, this constitutes a future-proof best practice.
Publication of a sample agreement
The Law stipulates that the installation of fibre be governed by an agreement between the building operator and the owner or manager of the property.
Thanks to the feedback obtained during the public consultation, the Authority is able to publish a sample agreement that satisfies the demands expressed by the players. This document includes the essential guarantees for property owners, while limiting the administrative burden on operators. It makes it possible to provide property owners and operators with a reference contractual framework that adheres to the principles set out in the Law. Players can already use the sample agreement.
The next stages
Technical work continues to be performed with the players on all of these issues, in an endeavour to fine-tune the principles to be applied to pioneer rollouts, and to prepare for subsequent stages based on actual experience. The Authority will also take full account of the recommendation on new access networks which is currently being drafted by the European Commission.
Before the end of the year, ARCEP will publish an ultra-fast broadband roadmap to track the progress being made by rollouts and sharing of the last part mechanisms, and the use of France Telecom ducts.
The Authority will be particularly vigilant to ensure that no single operator enjoys unjustified advantages in fibre rollouts, whether in terms of progress in their deployments, the capacity to lay fibre in civil infrastructure or access to premises and customers. The possibility for all operators to deploy fibre to the subscriber indeed provides the strongest incentive to invest in ultra-fast broadband, and the greatest guarantees in terms of competition and innovation.
Players contributions :
Zip 1 (5,4 Mo) (zip - 5.37 Mo)
ADUF, AFORS Télécom, AFUTT , AVICCA, Bouygues Telecom, CDC : Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Conseil Général des Hauts-de-Seine (92), Conseil Général de l'Oise (60), Conseil Régional de la Réunion, Colt, Communauté d'agglomération de Béziers Méditerranée, Communauté d'agglomération de Caen
Zip 2 (6,5 Mo) (zip - 6.50 Mo)
Covage, DGUHC et CETE de l'Ouest, Domergie, Ericsson, Fedelec, Flextronics, France Télécom, Free, Huber-Suhner, Manche Numérique, Nexans, Nortel
Zip 3 (5,5 Mo) (zip - 5.51 Mo)
Numéricâble, Particulier M. Barbot, Particulier M. Baylard, SFR-Neuf Cegetel, Sipperec, SNIDA, Sogetrel, Sycabel, UFC Que-Choisir, USH, UTE, Vialis