Orange faces penalty over wholesale duct access complaint

27 July 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

French regulator says Orange may be penalised if it does not give business operators equal and transparent access to fibre ducts

Orange must provide duct access to rival operators in the French business market on the same terms that it sets for its own services, the regulator has decided. If Orange fails to comply with this decision by the end of October, the company may be penalised, Arcep said.

Arcep has issued the French incumbent an order that its business market “must be subject to the same operational, technical and pricing terms and conditions as alternative operators, according to a principle of equivalence of inputs”.

The formal decision follows an investigation carried out by Arcep to check that Orange was meeting its obligations to be non-discriminatory and transparent.

“When deploying its own optical fibre network for businesses, the Orange Retail branch did not employ the same order processes and interfaces as alternative operators,” says Arcep.

The regulator has issued an official order, in three parts. It has to offer the same conditions to alternative operators and its own departments by 30 September 2016. It has to provide information on accessing its civil engineering infrastructures for optical local loop deployments in the business market by 31 January 2017. And it must publish on its website “the missing indicators on Orange Retail orders for access to Orange civil engineering infrastructures for the business market”, by 31 October 2016.

The Arcep unit responsible for investigations and settling disputes has stressed that investigations continue into other possible failures on the part of Orange to comply with its non-discrimination, transparency and quality of service obligations when providing access to its local loop civil engineering infrastructures.