Orange’s obligation in its capacity of universal service operator: 12 annual quality of service indicators
Through the Order dated 27 November 2017, issued by the Minister for the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, the company Orange was designated as the operator responsible for providing the universal “connection” and “telephone” service for a period of three years. These services, whose purpose is to guarantee that every person in France has access to the telephone service at an affordable price, are governed by a Government-ordered set of specifications. The Government has set 12 annual quality of service (QoS) indicators that Orange is required to achieve, and which Arcep is responsible for monitoring.
A number of reports of a gradual and significant deterioration; an investigation launched in June 2018
A great many users and local authorities have reported to Arcep – notably via the “J’alerte l’Arcep” reporting platform – a gradual and significant deterioration in the quality of the fixed telephone service. In June 2018, the Arcep body responsible for settling disputes, legal proceedings and investigations into possible failures to meet obligations (referred to in French as “RDPI”), launched an investigation into a possible failure by Orange to meet its universal service QoS obligations.
The investigation made it possible to confirm the gradual deterioration in the quality of the universal service. For some of the indicators, the quality of the service provided by Orange in the first half of 2018 was far from meeting the annual target values set by the order.
To enable the situation to improve rapidly, Arcep’s official notice imposes thresholds that Orange must achieve on a quarterly basis
In view of these elements, on 23 October 2018 it was decided to issue Orange with a formal notice to achieve, in 2019 and 2020, all of the annual values that were established when it was designated as the operator responsible for providing the universal service.
In addition, to help improve the situation rapidly, Arcep’s RDPI body has also set maximum values for all of the most critical indicators, which Orange must achieve on a quarterly basis, and this beginning in the final months of 2018.
The Decision will be published in the coming days on the Arcep website.
 The Arcep Executive Board is made up of three bodies. The plenary board which is composed of all seven members. The specialised body responsible for settling disputes, legal proceedings and investigations (referred to in French as “RDPI”) which is composed of four of the seven Executive Board members, including the Chair, is tasked with the investigation and prosecution stages (opening a prior investigation procedure, notification and statement of objections). The “restricted” body, composed of the three other Board members, is responsible for rulings, and for imposing penalties when required.
The official notice issued by Arcep requires Orange to meet in 2019 and 2020 the target values for 12 QoS indicators, as set out in the Order designating the universal service operator. To remedy the situation rapidly, Arcep has also included a specific mechanism for the seven most problematic indicators, listed in the following table. This mechanism adds to the official notice maximum annual values that must be achieved during the last two months of 2018, and on a quarterly basis in 2019.