WRC-19: what is at stake?

The biggest challenge at the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) – taking place in Egypt from 28 October to 22 November – will be revising the regulatory framework in a way that encourages technological innovation with the deployment of IMT-2020 (5G), the stations installed on High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) and non-geostationary satellites, while continuing to protect existing services. In addition to vital questions relating to transport (sea, ground and air) safety, earth observation, weather forecasting and climate monitoring will also be examined.

New players’ interest in obtaining frequencies above 24 GHz will also be discussed. Coming from economic sectors (health, security, automotive industry, utilities, heavy industry, etc.) other than telecommunications, these new players want access to high-range frequencies. This demand is tied primarily to uses enabled by 5G that require ultra low latency and high reliability, very high speed connections and the ability to connect a large number of devices. Frequency ranges between 24, 25 GHz and 86 GHz offer the ability to have wide frequency bands that could satisfy some of these new players’ spectrum needs.

Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau

Key events for the spectrum world, the purpose of World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) is to amend the Radiocommunications Act, an international treaty between ITU member states that aims to facilitate fair and equal access to radio spectrum and to geostationary and non geostationary satellite orbits, and to address potential interference between radio systems in different countries. The conference is held every four years, and follows an agenda that is decided at the previous WRC. The National Frequency Agency (ANFR) will head up the French delegation of which Arcep will be a member.

Regulation in action

26 GHz frequencies: the first 11 platforms for testing 5G use cases

Operating smart grids and augmented logistics at the port of Le Havre, using smart streetlamps to deploy new infrastructures in Bordeaux, a virtual services kiosk for trains and passengers at the Rennes railway station, incorporating augmented reality into sport broadcasting to prepare the Vélodrome National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines for the summer Olympics in 2024… more than ten projects answered the call issued by the Government and Arcep in January 2019, for the creation of 5G trial platforms in the 26 GHz frequency band.

Presented on 7 October, with special guest Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Secretary of State to France’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance, at the Cité des Sciences – which is itself spearheading a project for sharing innovative 5G use cases during upcoming special events and exhibitions – these projects that bring together industry players (SNCF, Nokia…) and telecom operators (Orange and Bouygues Telecom in particular),were awarded licences to use these “millimetre wave” frequencies for up to three years, “calibrated with the R&D timeline” and giving access to a large amount of spectrum, ranging from 400 MHz to 1 GHz. Project owners’ 5G trial network must be operational by 1 January 2021 at the latest. Above all, they must open it up to third parties – start-ups, SMEs, medium-size businesses, etc. – to perform their own trials. Lastly, they must publish the terms and conditions governing access to the 5G trial network, and provide Arcep with a detailed report on the trials that third parties are conducting through the platform.

By fostering the development of these experimental 5G networks in the 26 GHz band, and by stipulating that they be made available to enterprises that are innovating with technologies and services, Arcep is working to lift two major obstacles to innovation: cost and the technical skills needed to install these networks, particularly for the players that are least familiar with telecommunications. These 5G “sandboxes” are meant to give the French ecosystem a head-start in this frequency band, by helping it to mature, and provide invaluable initial feedback for identifying innovative 5G use cases and their future business models. And so putting France at the vanguard of their development.

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Tomorrow by the numbers

Close to 70% of people plan on gradually replacing their trips to the shops and the bank with the use of a voice assistant over the next three years
(According to the “Smart Talk: How organizations and consumers are embracing voice and chat assistants” survey conducted by Cap Gemini with 12,000 consumers and 1,000 senior executives)

On our radar

Maya Bacache, appointed to the Arcep Executive Board

The President of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, has appointed Maya Bacache – who has an extensive background in economics and regulating digital technology – to the Arcep Executive Board. A graduate of the École Normale Supérieure, with a post-graduate degree in economics and social sciences, and a PhD in economics, Maya Bacache is a professor of economics at Telecom ParisTech. She was a member of the Economic Analysis Council (CAE), of the Employment Advisory Council (COE), of CSA Lab and of the Advisory board on electronic communications (2012). She will be replacing Martine Lombard who has chosen to terminate her tenure in order to devote herself to her new assignment as President of the jury for the national competitive examination for aggregation in public law. Arcep salutes the tremendous contribution that Martine Lombard made to the Authority’s work.

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News from around the world

Why submarine cables are so strategically important to content providers

At a time when tech companies are competing to provide users with ever more services, submarine cables have become a vital link in the internet chain. Today, virtually all (99%) intercontinental internet traffic goes through them.

Which is why Google, currently gearing up to launch its game streaming platform, is installing the very high capacity Dunant cable between the Atlantic coasts of the United States and France. Although a great many undersea cables are already available on the transatlantic route between the US and Europe, Google’s desire to build and operate its own cable – running counter to the longstanding use of consortia – is a clear indication of what an integral part of Big Tech companies’ strategies submarine cables have become, in the same way as the datacentres that link them. According to American market research firm, TeleGeography, content providers account for more than 50% of investments in transatlantic routes in 2019, and around a third of spending on transpacific routes.

Arcep likes

Personal data portability

Thanks to the GDPR, which enables individuals to transfer their personal data, data portability is becoming a concrete reality. Among the available tools, startup Onecub, which is based in Calais and at Station F, offers an online service that allows users to port their data directly from one service to another. This includes both personal data (name, address, phone number, etc.) and browsing data (IP address, visits to a website, online purchases, etc.). Onecub shares the approach of the GS1 European working group that establishes technological standards for businesses, for the circulation of user-owned data, based on the principles of the GDPR. The group’s members also include Acsel, Afnic, Afnor, CNAM and Fevad.

GS1 European working group

Field notes

THD Superfast Access Summer University

On Wednesday, 18 September, Sébastien Soriano spoke at the Superfast access (THD) summer university, co-hosted by Infranum and AVICCA – an event that brought together the entire fibre ecosystem: operators, equipment suppliers and a great many local authorities. The Arcep Chair spoke to the packed room about outstanding regional digital development issues, and took questions from the audience: on the New Deal for Mobile, fibre rollouts, 5G and the business market. The event provided an opportunity to offer a reminder that, under the New Deal for Mobile, it is now local authorities that choose where operators must provide mobile coverage. Regarding the fixed market, Sébastien Soriano saluted fibre market players’ outstanding mobilisation: “moving things forward as much as the Delta LP plan did for the telephone” back in the 1970s. While also calling for a meaningful political discussion to define fixed infrastructure targets up to 2025. The Arcep Chair then visited the exhibition stands, along with Arcep Executive Board member and local elected official for the Nord Department, Joëlle Cottenye, President of Avicca, Patrick Chaize, and President of Infranum, Étienne Dugas. It provided a welcome opportunity to speak directly with the businesses and local authorities that are in the trenches, deploying telecom networks.

Left to right: Patrick Chaize, Joëlle Cottenye, Julie Riquier, Vice-President of the Hauts-de-France regional council, Sébastien Soriano and Etienne Dugas

Well said

« Google is going to tweak its algorithm to favour original reporting. This is good! How will they do it? Through this very cool technology called "humans." »

Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief of Wired, on Twitter, 12 September 2019

Meanwhile, in Brussels...

BEREC consults on its new net neutrality guidelines

After having worked through the summer, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published its updated net neutrality guidelines. Several amendments have been made to the original 2016 text, drawing on regulators’ experience over the first three years of enforcement of the Open Internet regulation. It is now inviting anyone who so desires to provide feedback on how these guidelines could be improved. The deadline for submitting contributions is 28 November.

BEREC wanted to consult with industry stakeholders on operators’ possible ability to inspect the data (IP packet contents) being relayed over networks, as part of their regular traffic management process, for billing purposes. This is an important issue for Arcep as it endeavours to reconcile strong protection for personal data, while also enabling ISPs to sustain a functional modus operandi.

Contribute to the public consultation

Arcep, telling it like it is

Arcep launches "La Fabrique RéSo"

You probably know what the person sitting next to you in the office is working on. But what about those working across the hall, or one floor up? To create a steady flow of dialogue, in mid-September Arcep launched “la Fabrique RéSo” (The Regulation and Solutions network factory) – a workshop that is open to all members of staff, and meant to showcase innovative in-house projects and initiatives that are helping to drive the regulatory process forward. The idea is to allow any staff member to identify solutions that have been developed by other teams, and to apply them to their own area of work, but also to tap into the collective intelligence to test out new ideas. The latest round of brainstorming will focus on regulation, innovation and data. Two innovative projects were presented at the first workshop held in mid-September: the process for developing an open source Chrome extension for managing GDPR cookies, and the pathway that made it possible, working in tandem with students, to go from a complex database to an educational consumer market app.

The creators of the RéSo Factory: left to right, Laurent Toustou, Vincent Toubiana, Pierre Dubreuil and Hacène Lahreche

Mark your calendars

15 November 2019, in Paris - IP♥6 Task-Force Workshop

Following through on its last workshop devoted to sharing experiences and best practices to ease the transition to IPv6, Arcep created an IPv6 Task Force whose members include operators, web hosting companies, businesses, public sector players, and all other interested parties. The goal: to enable stakeholders to contribute in a concrete way to accelerating the transition to IPv6 in France, and make it go more smoothly. The kick-off meeting will be held on the afternoon of 15 November 2019 at Arcep. The agenda will include a presentation of the latest findings from France’s IPv6 transition barometer.

Join the Task Force

Arcep will be there…

10 October 2019, in Paris
(Big) Tech for good, AccorHotels Arena, Paris

At a time of when power over the internet has reached an unprecedented level of concentration in the hands of Big Tech, what countervailing power needs to be adopted? What type of regulation is required to enable the emergence of local players, defenders of European humanistic values, and to guarantee internet users' freedom of choice? Sébastien Soriano will speak on this theme at the 5th edition of BPI Inno Generation, being hosted on 10 October by the French Public Investment Bank, BPI France, in partnership with the Digital New Deal Foundation think tank. A perfect opportunity to reread the piece that Arcep's Chair published on the think tank's website in September: "Breaking the Big Tech monopoly: regulating to free the crowd".

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10 October 2019, in Paris
SIPPEREC Matinale THD (Superfast access morning symposium)

Guillaume Mellier, Director of Arcep's Fibre, Infrastructures and Territories department, will be participating in the first roundtable of the SIPPEREC morning symposium on superfast access, which will deliver the first scorecard on the Plan France Très haut Débit superfast rollout scheme in Ile-de-France. He will also provide a status update on FttH rollouts in France and in Ile-de-France, and explain Arcep's role in regulating fixed superfast access (regulate, monitor, inform).

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16 October 2019, in Brussels
7th BEREC Stakeholder Forum

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is hosting its regular Stakeholder Forum on 16 October 2019 in Brussels. This is when the BEREC work programme for the coming years is discussed. The forum is open to telecoms, media and tech companies, and experts from international organisation. It will be live streamed on the BEREC website.

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15-16 October 2019, in Brussels
WIK Conference: "New Code, new challenges for the Gigabit society"

In 2020, European Union Member States will adopt the new Electronic Communications Code. In 2020, a new Commission and a new Parliament will set a new agenda for the sector. The conference being organised by the WIK Brussels-based think tank will provide an opportunity to take stock of what has been accomplished thus far, and what work remains to be done. Arcep Executive Board member, Emmanuel Gabla, will be participating in roundtable at 11:30 am on 15 October titled: "Gigabit Networks: Deciphering The Code".

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• 16-18 October 2019, in Bourges
ADF Digital Affairs Commission, in Bourges

Arcep Executive Board member, Joëlle Cottenye, will be speaking to the Assembly of French Departments' Digital Affairs Commission on 16 October in Bourges, which is chaired by Claude Riboulet, President of the Allier Departmental Council, about the latest fixed and mobile network issues surrounding regional digital development. The meting will be a satellite event to the ADF's 89th convention in the city, running from 16 to 18 October, which Joëlle Cottenye will also attend.

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17-18 October 2019, in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
ANEM conference

Arcep Executive Board member, François Lions, will be participating in the National Association of Elected Representatives from Mountain Areas' (ANEM) 35th congress, at a roundtable on digital network coverage in mountain areas. The session will offer the chance to detail the status of fixed and mobile superfast deployments, along with the outlook for 5G on the summits.

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23 and 24 October 2019, in Bucharest
17th annual meeting of the Fratel network

On 23 and 24 October, the Romanian capital will play host to the 17th annual meeting of the Fratel network of French-speaking telecommunications regulators. This year's central theme will be "Coverage and quality of service issues and challenges: what is the regulator's role?". Arcep Chair and Fratel's President in 2019, Sébastien Soriano, along with Arcep Executive Board member, Serge Abiteboul, will be taking part in the discussions. An international conference devoted to tools for empowering users, with special focus on mapping mobile coverage, will be taking place the previous day, at the invitation of Romania's regulator, Ancom, who is also hosting the plenary conference.

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28 October-22 November 2019, Egypt
World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19)

The 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) will be a four-week marathon event in Egypt, during which decisions will be made on topics such as the frequency bands (beyond 24 GHz) to be used for 5G network deployments, the frequencies planned for the Internet of Things (IoT) and high altitude (20 km) platforms such as balloons and drones. Sara Bertoglio and Jodie Nanfack of Arcep's Frequencies and Technologies Unit will be on hand.

Read the Editorial by Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau
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5-6 November 2019, in Paris
Avicca 2019 Autumn TRIP

Maxime Forest, Deputy Director of Arcep's Mobile and Innovation department, will be taking part in a roundtable: "4G, 5G, superfast wireless access: mobile game changers" at the 2019 Autumn TRIP, which will be taking place over two days at the International University Campus in Paris, hosted by Avicca, with the support of the Banque des Territoires.

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5 November 2019, in Paris
OECD Network of Economic Regulators meeting

On 5 November 2019, Arcep Executive Board member, Maya Bacache, will be taking part in the meeting of the OECD Network of Economic Regulators, whose purpose is to foster dialogue between more than 70 regulators from around the globe, working on a wide range of sectors, including communications, energy, transport and water. The meeting will focus on regulators' independence and performance, how technologies affect regulation, and applying behavioural knowledge to the regulatory process.

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13 November 2019, in Paris
Senate symposium on regional digital development

Achieving regional digital coverage: will the objectives be achieved? The Committee on regional planning and sustainable development will be hosting a symposium at the French Senate on 13 November, to explore this question together. Sébastien Soriano will deliver Arcep's responses during the two roundtables on the agenda: "Fixed superfast access: is real regional coverage being achieved?" and "Mobile network rollouts: what coverage levels, within what timeframe?". Senate President, Gérard Larcher, will introduce the debates at 2 pm.

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14 November 2019, in Paris
Gazette des communes "Digital Society" Forum

4G, fibre for all… how will these technologies be financed? Achieving regional digital cohesion: what is local authorities' role? Technological mixes: what are the best solutions for each region? Guillaume Mellier, Director of Arcep's Fibre, Infrastructures and Territories department, will share with local authorities all of his "tips and advice for achieving regional development in their area".

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