20 June 2016
On 28 April 2016 the French government adopted the Order (1) transposing the European Directive of 15 May 2014 (2), commonly referred to as the "civil engineering" directive.
Arcep welcomes the adoption of these provisions, and the fact that the main remarks contained in its opinion of 29 March 2016 were taken into account. By encouraging synergies between the different network industries, whenever relevant, these new provisions will help to further fixed and mobile superfast network rollouts and, ultimately, to improve connectivity and coverage in general, particularly in the more sparsely populated areas and within constrained environments such as different modes of transport. One of Arcep's priorities is to accelerate superfast connectivity and coverage nationwide, as reaffirmed in its recent strategic review.
To complete the directive's transposition, the Government will need to adopt several implementing decrees in the coming weeks, which will be submitted to Arcep for feedback.
• The core principle: granting access rights to existing infrastructures
Because civil engineering works represent a very large percentage of fixed and mobile superfast network rollout costs, this directive introduces the principle of giving operators the right to access existing civil engineering infrastructures for the purpose of deploying their superfast networks (3). This access must be granted under reasonable technical and pricing terms and conditions.
The affected infrastructures are those belonging to the electronic communications, transport, energy and water sectors (operators' civil engineering ducts, transmission towers, railway tunnels, etc.), and the directive introduces operators' right to access information pertaining to these infrastructures. In addition, more detail has been brought to existing provisions on coordinating civil engineering works (4), which have also been strengthened.
• Implementation: Arcep given the power to settle disputes
The process of implementing these provisions consists, first, of dialogue and negotiations between market stakeholders. Should these negotiations fail, however, and to guarantee that these rights are fully implemented, the order gives Arcep a newfound power: an operator or an infrastructure manager can call on Arcep to settle a dispute - a procedure that must be completed within two or four months, depending on the circumstances. Should such a dispute arise, Arcep will rely on the expertise of the regulator responsible for the sector in question (Energy Regulatory Commission, Regulatory Authority for Roads and Railways), whose opinion will be solicited.
(1) Order No. 2016-526 of 28 April 2016 transposing Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 May 2014 on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks
(2) Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 May 2014 on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks
(3) i.e. capable of providing a connection speed of a least 30 Mbit/s
(4) Article L. 49 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE)
Arcep opinion of 29 March 2016 (pdf - 163 Ko) (in French only)