One step closer to fibre: Arcep holds a consultation on the system, terms and conditions for awarding "fibre zone" status, and the resulting obligations
Paris, 18 April 2017
Today Arcep is launching a public consultation on the system, terms and conditions
for awarding the status of "fibre zone". Established by Law, the aim
of this status is to accelerate the pace at which users across France upgrade
to fibre access, and thereby achieve the objectives of the Plan France très
haut débit ultrafast rollout scheme. This public consultation will enable
Arcep to establish the system to be used and the terms and conditions for awarding
this status, and to then submit them to the Government.
A status for accelerating the transition to fibre
"Fibre zone" status originated with the Report from the Champsaur
task force on the transition to ultrafast access networks, and the phasing out
of the legacy copper network. This status, which is entrenched in law, in meant
to bolster the momentum of the transition to ultrafast access, and so to help
reach the coverage targets set out in the Plan France très haut débit
ultrafast rollout scheme. It is within this context that lawmakers tasked
Arcep with proposing to the Government the system, terms and conditions for
awarding this status.
"Fibre zone" status must make it possible to qualify those areas
where the deployed ultrafast access networks satisfy the necessary prerequisites
to a mass transition, to be able to then trigger measures in those areas that
create an incentive to make that transition. The creation of this status thus
marks a first step in the migration to ultrafast access, and one whose purpose
is to accelerate the commercial rollout of fibre to the home (FttH) electronic
communication services, and thus to truly benefit the operators and local authorities
that apply for it.
The intention is to trigger a virtuous circle. By improving their image and
thanks to concrete measures such as lifting the obligation to install copper
telephone lines in new buildings, the "fibre zone" status will drive
a collective momentum for achieving successful deployments and high quality
fibre local loop networks.
A clear and understandable status to encourage its appropriation by stakeholders
Arcep elected to co-design this status with the concerned stakeholders. To
this end, it hosted a workshop for operators, local authorities and their representative
associations, in tandem with the Directorate-General for Enterprise, on 23 January
of this year. This workshop helped to fuel Arcep's thought process, which resulted
in the consultation being launched today.
The overall aim for Arcep is for this "fibre zone" status to be clear
and easily understood by users, to encourage its appropriation by businesses
and consumers alike. To this end, acceptance of and support for the status of
fibre zone, and users' understanding of it, can only be achieved if, for end
users, this status corresponds to their ability to subscribe to an FttH service.
Arcep thus believes that the status should only be awarded in those locations
where fibre rollouts are complete which, from a concrete perspective, means
that all residential and business premises in the area are eligible to subscribe
to an FttH plan, or can be connected to an FttH network upon request.
Arcep thus plans on awarding the status of fibre zone to an easily identifiable
geographical mesh block (which could be an administrative division within a
municipality), once all of the premises are "passed" for fibre. This
mesh block must correspond to a daily reality, and be a tangible element that
is shared by all of the local economic, political and administrative activities.
Outside very high-density areas, a limited percentage of premises, located
in sparsely populated areas, will only be able to be "connected upon request"
once the status has been awarded, as their connection will require the installation
of an optical connection point, within a maximum six months, in accordance with
the Arcep recommendation of 7 December 2015.
The public consultation will run until 24 May 2017
Arcep invites the sector's stakeholders to reflect upon all of these criteria,
and to submit their comments before 24 May 2017.
Based on this public consultation and the responses received, Arcep will then
submit to the Minister responsible for electronic communications its proposed
system, terms and conditions for awarding the status of "fibre zone",
in accordance with Article L33-11 of France's Postal and Electronic Communications
Finally, once the ministerial order is adopted, Arcep will be able to begin
awarding "fibre zone" status to the eligible locations.