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Devices’ (smartphones, tablets, voice assistants...) influence over open internet access

Last update 26th June 2018

Investigate cycle begun by Arcep in 2017 in the publication of Arcep report

Smartphones, tablets, voice assistants... Are devices the weak link in achieving an open internet?

In addition to access networks (governed by European Open Internet regulation), certain intermediaries have the power to limit users’ ability to access certain content and services on the internet. This is true of devices, their operating systems and their app stores which are controlled by a small number of economic actors.

Arcep decided to begin an investigative cycle on the topic in 2017. Its objectives are:

  • to evaluate the influence that devices have over the ability to access the internet, and to map out impediments to an open internet;

  • to propose measures that could be introduced at the national or European level to remedy any weaknesses that have been identified.

This work is broken down into two stages:

  • #1 – In May 2017, Arcep published an initial diagnosis of the influence that devices can have on users’ ability to access the internet and its different content. This report delivers an initial map of the impediments to open internet access that stem from devices.

  • #2 - Arcep will complete this analysis with the publication of a new, in-depth report in February 2018. This second report could then serve as the starting point for drafting regulatory measures to be introduced at the national or European level. It has been presented at an event in Paris. You can watch all the debates here.

Devices: weak link in open internet access : the Comic Book

To download the comic strip


 
A team dedicated to the issue

A cross-functional team dedicated to this project. Led by Jennifer Siroteau, head of the “Economic analysis and Digital intelligence” unit, the members of this team come from several different Arcep departments: “Economy, markets and digital affairs,” “Internet and users,” “Mobile and innovation,” “Legal affairs” and “Communication and partnerships”.    

Read the mission statement (in French)

Workshops and meetings hosted by Arcep to deepen its investigation

The Authority met and established an ongoing dialogue with the sector’s stakeholders. To this end, it hosted three workshops in October and November 2017.

Workshop No. 1: Let’s design the ideal app store!

9 October 2017 | 2:00 pm
Numa | 39 rue du Caire, 75002 Paris 
Target audience: app developers and content providers

To better adapt to how new smart devices work, more and more content is being made available in the form of apps. This means of accessing content can result in certain limitations:

1.   For users who, as a result, will likely not have access to all content, despite it being available on the internet;

2.   For economic actors (the price of accessing app stores, specific technical terms and conditions for deploying applications...).

Based on this premise, the aim of the workshop will be to design the “ideal” model for making content available. It will also provide an opportunity to think about the relevance and scope of possible future regulation.


Workshop No. 2: Back to the future! Let’s design tomorrow’s devices, in light of past successes and failures

13 November 2017 | 2:00 pm
Le Tank | 22 bis rue des Taillandiers, 75011 Paris
Target audience: device manufacturers and OS developers.

A plethora of fixed and mobile devices is available today, and competition between their manufacturers is lively. However, the choice of built-in operating systems to power these devices is limited. Some players have proposed alternative systems, which failed to catch on. Why did they fail? Is there still room for new players?
This workshop will also be devoted to exploring how we expect devices to evolve over time, changes in connectivity systems, specialised devices… In other words, to design the smartphone of the future (which, by the way, will probably not be a phone!).

 

Workshop No.3: Are we being held hostage by our operating systems? A round-up of available solutions

24 November 2017 | 9:00 am
Cap Digital | 14 rue Alexandre Parodi, 75010 Paris
Target audience: consumers.terminaux@arcep.fr

Today’s mobile operating system (OS) market is dominated by Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). When users wants to switch smartphones, there are obstacles that may prevent them from choosing a different OS: problems with transferring their data (contacts, photos, calendar, e-mail accounts, applications…), the loss of certain apps or services when switching to a new environment, the need to pay a second time for apps they had already purchased for their old system. How can we remedy this situation? 

Project milestone

- 5 June 2018: For the second year in a row, Arcep is publishing its report on the "state of the internet in France". Submitted to Parliament, this report focuses on the different components of fixed and mobile internet networks: quality of service, interconnection, IPv6, net neutrality and the openness of devices. Based on the idea of "a complete check-up," Arcep delivers a "diagnosis" of the year gone by, and identifies the "shock therapies" or "preventive medicine" that need to be employed. The goal: to ensure that the network of networks that is the internet remains an inclusive public resource.
Press release
Everything you need to know about net neutrality debates
The state of the Internet in France

- 15 February 2018: In 2017, Arcep kicked off a period of investigation into devices and open access. Arcep publishes its second report. It could serve as the starting point for drafting regulatory measures to be introduced at the national or European level. It has been presented at an event in Paris.
Press release
Arcep report
VoD Conference

- 13 February 2018: « GAFA are ruling our smartphones: let's take back control! » Opinion of Sebastien Soriano, Chairman of Arcep, for L'OBS / The opinion

- 11 December 2017 : "Smartphones, tablets, voice assistants... Are devices the weak link in achieving an open internet?" Arcep launches a public consultation with courses of action it wants assessed before publishing its full report in February 2018.
Press release
English version of the Public Consultation

29 September 2017: "Smartphones, tablets, voice assistants... Are devices the weak link in achieving an open internet?” Arcep creates a dedicated team and launches a series workshopsPress release

30 May 2017: to coincide with the publication of its report on the “State of the internet in France", at La Paillasse in Paris, Arcep released its initial diagnosis on the influence that devices can have on users’ ability to access the internet. 
Press release 
Report

Focus



The report is available in English (June 2018)