Fibre to the home (FttH) networks are destined to become the new infrastructure of reference in France. Improving the quality of their operation, which will safeguard the future of this infrastructure and users’ satisfaction, is a top priority for Arcep.
At a time when deployments and subscription rates are surging, elected officials, operators and users are reporting issues they are having to the regulator, either directly or via the “J’alerte l’Arcep” platform: users’ line disconnected when a new subscriber is added, dilapidated street cabinets, temporary cut-offs, connection issues…
Status report on the work done by the “FttH Operations” working group since 2019: operators invited to complete the actions adopted in the 2020 “Quality roadmap” as soon as possible
To resolve the issues that users are encountering, in 2019 Arcep created the “FttH Operations” working group which brought together infrastructure operators (IO) and commercial operators (CO) every six weeks.
As part of this work, in March 2020 operators adopted a “Quality roadmap” whose goals for the end of 2020 included:
- the signature of new sub-contracting agreements with commercial operators designed to increase the quality of operators’ service calls;
- introduction of a systematic photographic record of each service call, to be able to monitor the status of the different network points (network concentration points, optical connection points, optical termination points) before and after each service call.
Although every operator has taken steps in this direction, several of them have fallen behind in signing new sub-contracting agreements with commercial operators and in adopting photographic records. This situation is difficult to understand: it has become crucial that the actions set forth in the roadmap be accomplished as soon as possible;
Today Arcep is publishing a supplementary action plan to improve the quality of FttH operations.
In December 2020, Arcep launched a public consultation on the technical and pricing terms and conditions governing optical fibre connections. The contributions received from some thirty stakeholders, which are being made public today, along with the “FttH Operations” working group’s discussions all helped inform Arcep’s examination of the issue. Today’s action plan is built around three main priorities:
- Better monitor service calls:
- Thanks to the introduction of an inter-operator tool for real-time notification of service calls, so the entity making the service call can notify the infrastructure operator at the beginning and end of the intervention. The IO will then transmit this information in real time to the CO, to enable the IO to better track service calls on its network and for the CO to verify the status of their lines and detect any possible disconnections that occurred during the service call;
- Thanks to automatic analysis of the photographic record (e.g. by using artificial intelligence) to have a detailed view of defects and dilapidation.
- Better monitor compliance with processes by limiting the number of sub-contractors and improving the training given to service technicians: Arcep supports the idea proposed by several operators of limiting the number of sub-contractors, to be able to monitor the work done by service technicians more effectively. It also seems advisable that operators propose solutions for improving the training provided to the technicians performing the service calls, and create a system of accreditation and/or guarantees of the technicians’ competence.
- Bring the most dilapidated infrastructures up to code: it is equally vital that operators upgrade all of their dilapidated or severely defective infrastructures that prevent lines from functioning properly.
Through the “FttH Operations” working group, Arcep will be careful to ensure that operators undertake and complete the additional work that has been identified as vital.
Lastly, Arcep has created two new working groups to ensure the realisation of all line termination installations, and to make the operator switching process smoother
In October 2021, Arcep launched an inter-operator working group dedicated to fibre line termination installations, to limit the number of “failures”. The work done by this group will include:
- Defining mechanisms that will create the ability to install non-standard connections, particularly in instances where civil engineering on public land or private land is not available, and for managing failed installations;
- Drafting, in concert with the relevant Government departments and operators, a handbook for consumers on future subscribers’ rights and duties when it comes to fibre line termination installation.
Arcep will also be launching an inter-operator working group in the coming weeks dedicated to improving the process for taking over a line when a user switches operators, to simplify the process and limit line duplications notably by making CPE optical network terminal references a matter of general knowledge, to make it easier to switch from one operator to another.
Infrastructure operator versus commercial operator
An infrastructure operator deploys and operates a fibre to the home (FttH) network. They install the fibre concentration points through which they provide access to their network to all ISPs (internet service providers), also known as commercial operators.
- Status report and action plan regarding the work done on the quality of operations and terminal connections
- Roadmap adopted in March 2020 and GT Infranum report card on strengthening sub-contractor agreements and the supplementary work to be performed
- Response to the public consultation on terminal connection (zip – 50 Mo)