Tax on mobile subscriptions: Jean-Ludovic Silicani corrects statements attributed to him by the press

Paris, 9 September 2010

During his hearing with the National Assembly economic affairs committee on 8 September 2010, when asked about a possible tax on the copper pair to help finance optical fibre rollouts, ARCEP Chairman Jean-Ludovic Silicani had said that it was a "false good idea" since, paradoxically, it would be disadvantageous to households located in more sparsely populated areas which would be using the taxed copper pair network for some time, whereas households located in high density areas, where optical fibre will be deployed sooner, would only have to pay the tax for a short while.

When queried about alternative means of financing fibre rollouts, the ARCEP Chairman pointed out that State aid will be given to optical fibre deployments in sparsely populated areas through the digital regional development fund, financed by the National loan (grand emprunt). He also said that, generally speaking, he was opposed to the creation of a new dedicated tax and that, if there were to be long-term State aid for fibre deployments, it should be financed by existing tax revenue instead.

When asked again about the possibility of a new tax, Mr. Silicani answered that, should it come to pass - which he does not recommend, especially at a time when there are plans to subject triple play offers to a VAT at 19.6% - the least bad solution would be a very small tax on a very large base, namely all fixed and mobile subscriptions (of which there are currently 80 million), which, if set at €5 a year, for instance, would bring in €400 million.

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