Newsletter ARCEP


June 2018 
The Post

photoAgreement on European telecoms rules: what of fibre rollouts?

A political agreement was reached on 6 June between the representatives of European institutions on the review of Europe’s Electronic Communications Code. Promoting access to broadband and superfast broadband networks via fixed and mobile “very high-capacity networks” is one of the stated objectives.

One of the key issues for France regarding fixed superfast network rollouts was to keep the existing framework, while consolidating the (notably symmetric) regulatory tools that have been in place for ten years now, to facilitate fibre deployments.

After lively debates between the proponents of competition and those in favour of a regulatory holiday to bolster investments in the new networks, the Code upholds the regulator’s ability to take action with respect to the SMP operator, while recognising how co-investment agreements can benefit the market, under certain conditions.

Ultimately, on this crucial matter, the new code draws its inspiration from our experience in regulating FttH here in France. So we will no see any dramatic chances to the regulatory framework that is already in place.

In addition to the issue of FttH network rollouts, the new code also seeks to adapt to new digital challenges. It also aims to lay the groundwork for closer collaboration between regulators in Europe within BEREC.

Philippe Distler, Arcep Executive Board Member


Regulation in action

Arcep performs a complete check-up of the Internet in France in 2018

For the second year in a row, Arcep has published its report on the state of the Internet in France. Delivered to Parliament, this report examines the different components of fixed and mobile Internet networks: quality of service, interconnection, the progress being made with IPv6, net neutrality and the openness of devices. Modelling itself on an “annual check-up,” Arcep delivers a diagnosis on each for the year gone by, and identifies the shock therapies or preventive medicine required. The goal: to ensure that the network of networks that is the Internet remains an inclusive public resource.

In 2017, Arcep’s actions focused in particular on measuring the quality of fixed Internet access services. As Arcep Chair, Sébastien Soriano, reiterated in a recent interview with 01net: ‘There are no tools available today that are powerful enough to erase any doubts about their reliability’. To remedy that, and increase transparency and clarity, Arcep called on all of the stakeholders from the QoS measurement ecosystem, and adopted a co-construction approach. Today, there are more than twenty entities involved in the process. Arcep will be publishing a joint code of conduct for all of the players, and will develop an API detailing the “access ID card” for each device.

2018 report on the State of the Internet in France
Report summary
Everything you need to know about the net neutrality debate
Sébastien Soriano interview with 01net (in French)


Tomorrow by the numbers
28% of people in France intend to buy a voice assistant, such as Google Home or Alexa, in the coming months. (Source: Havas Paris study) Arcep report: "Smartphones, tablets, voice assistants… Devices: the weak link in open internet access" / The comic strip

On our radar  

The 30 new members of the French Digital Council

Thirty new members have come to form the French Digital Council since 29 May: fifteen women and fifteen men, all deeply committed to the country’s digital transition. Salwa Toko, founder of Becomtech, an association devoted to initiating young girls to digital technology and IT, is the new Chair.
Operating under the aegis of the Minister responsible for Digital affairs, the French Digital Council is in charge of examining digital technology issues, and particularly the challenges and outlook for the digital transition in society, the economy, organisations, government action and the regions.


News from around the world
The United States abandons net neutrality

Titled “Restoring Internet Freedom,” the text fully reverses course on the provisions contained in the “Open Internet Order” that was adopted in 2015. This includes the ban on blocking, throttling and paid prioritisation. What does this mean? ISPs in the US can now, for instance, sell access plans that include differentiated treatment or pricing for certain types of content. The only condition is that they mention these practices in their contracts. The arguments that the American regulator has used to justify its actions are, paradoxically, rather similar to the ones employed by net neutrality’s proponents, including going back to a very relaxed regulatory framework which, according to the FCC, has enabled the Internet to develop as it has; as well as giving emphasis to permissionless innovation, but this time more for ISPs than content and application providers. It would be impossible for this type of back-tracking to occur in Europe where net neutrality is guaranteed by a European regulation, which is the highest level normative text in Europe. To make things clearer, Arcep – the protector of net neutrality in France – offers a pictorial map of current debates.

Elsewhere around the world, to demonstrate their commitment to net neutrality, and make it an entrenched, shared value, Europe and India have achieved a significant joint action: BEREC and India’s regulator adopted a joint statement a few days ago that sets out their common vision, along with a Memorandum of understanding for furthering net neutrality around the globe.


Arcep like

L'Arcep likes

The Mozilla Foundation reacted to Arcep’s 12 recommendations to ensure that devices (smartphones, voice assistants…) comply with open Internet access all along the chain. The Mozilla Foundation’s blog post welcome’s Arcep’s initiative, and takes a closer look at several of its courses of action. A useful invitation to continue the debate and examinations of this issue.


Field notes

Optical fibre rollouts in the Oise: a “100% FttH” PIN

On 13 June, an Arcep team led by Executive Board Member, Martine Lombard, travelled to the Oise to meet with elected officials and the teams in charge of the Oise THD (i.e. superfast) departmental public-initiative network (PIN).

The Oise PIN, where 60% of homes are passed for FttH (compared to the national average of 8% in areas covered by private-initiative networks) is among the most advanced. 100% FttH rollouts are due to be complete by the end of next year. To echo what Martine Lombard said during the trip: ‘All of France should be like the Oise’.

On the agenda for this trip: visiting an optical connection node (OCN), discussing the role that elected officials and Oise THD have in regional digital development efforts, and attending a meeting of the trade union committee with more than a hundred mayors and presidents of agglomeration and departmental councils.

Tout terrain

Well said trait

‘Of course, some Scandinavian countries are at the leading edge when it comes to high-speed access, but if France is lagging behind it’s mainly because cable (which is considered a superfast access network in some countries, such as Germany) never took hold here. We are in the process of deploying a fibre to the home network. Which takes more time. Costs a lot more. But, ultimately, not long from now, we will have an ultra-powerful network that is far superior to what any of our neighbours have. France is a hyper-competitive telecoms market, and one where, lest we forget, investments have increased by 37% in three years, to reach a quarter of operators’ revenue. So we should really be applauding this, rather than criticising it’.

David Barroux, Editor in Chief, Les Échos

Meanwhile in Brussels...

Telecoms code: a political agreement reached!

In the night of 5 to 6 June of this year, a political agreement was reached between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the content of the European Electronic Communications Code. This completes a legislative process for reviewing the Telecoms Package Directives that began in September 2016. The Code’s core ambition: to develop connectivity to very high capacity networks in Europe (notably fibre and 5G), by updating the rules governing access regulation and by introducing greater coordination on 5G spectrum assignment timetables. The Code also seeks to strengthen consumers’ rights and adapt the framework to current realities (incorporating certain web-based services and including broadband in the universal service).

As the expert regulator, Arcep lent its support to preparing French authorities’ position on the legislative work done on reviewing the framework. Working within BEREC, it voiced EU regulators’ common positions in public debates, in its capacity as BEREC Chair in 2017, and played a very active role in the technical analysis work performed when crafting these positions. In 2018, the Authority continues to be heavily involved in this issue, examining and later transposing this new Code, which is due to be adopted in mid-2018 and come into force by 2020.


Arcep, telling it like it is

PhotoHappy birthday “Roam like at home”!

Thanks to Europe’s “Roam like at home” regulation, for a year now, Europeans have been able to use their mobile phone when travelling in the EU in the same way they do at home. Scrambling to find Wi-Fi access, putting a phone call off until later or going without texting to avoid being overcharged is now a thing of the past!

Before this regulation came into effect, Arcep was actively involved in the extensive work done to prepare for the end of roaming in Europe, at both the European level (within BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and at the national level, by supporting French operators and keeping them informed.

But Arcep’s work has not stopped there! Over the past year, Arcep has been supervising operators’ compliance with these new provisions, and working to ensure that every mobile product in France is compatible with the new regulatory framework. The result: at Arcep’s request, operators have removed inaccuracies in their price schedules, some mobile plans have been adjusted, and the messages operators automatically send to customers when they arrive in another country have been changed.
All done in a way which has been relatively transparent for users. Operators have met their newfound obligations, thanks to an ongoing dialogue with Arcep.

Bravo, Europe!

The “Mobile market regulation" Unit
Lénaïg Catz, Mohamed Toumi, Gabriel Araujo, Anthony Grasso

Mark your calendar


10 July 2018 | will incorporate mobile coverage data on French overseas markets

Starting on 10 July, the website will include coverage maps from operators in France’s overseas markets (voice and SMS coverage with four levels of comparison), as well as quality of service data. Arcep has been working with overseas operators for the past year to meet this deadline as fully as possible. It has been performing measurement campaigns in the five overseas departments since April, to assess the reliability of operators’ coverage maps and the quality of mobile services.



5 July in Paris
Internet Government Forum, France 2018

This year, the Internet Governance Forum France will be structured around two types of event: a series of workshops and a one-day Forum. The workshops on our digital future have been ongoing since 25 April, focusing on the major challenges that the Web is facing today: net neutrality, cybersecurity, how personal data are handled. Arcep will be hosting a workshop in October on IPv6. And the Forum will be on 5 July. This single day event, which will be opened by France’s Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi, will include roundtables and workshops.
Find out more

9 and 12 July in Geneva
Global symposium for regulators

Hosted by the International Telecommunication Union, the global symposium for telecoms regulator will be taking place in Geneva from 9 to 12 July 2018. Its theme: New regulatory frontiers. Arcep Chair, Sébastien Soriano, will be there on 11 July, and will be taking part in a roundtable on “Mastering the new regulatory frontiers”, devoted to the regulator’s role as facilitator, working to foster innovation and, more generally, in its purely regulatory actions.
Find out more




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