Arcep unveils plans to cut call termination rates and boost fibre

26 April 2017 | James Pearce

French regulator Arcep has launched two public consultations looking at call termination rates for fixed and mobile, and rules around the deployment of fibre.

The regulation over call termination, which was first introduced in 2002, led to the emergence of widespread unlimited calling offers in France, Arcep claimed. It is now carrying out market analysis for the period running from 2017 to 2020.

The regulator is requesting feedback from interested parties, including wholesale providers, on its plans to maintain fixed and mobile wholesale call termination, while imposing non-discrimination, transparency, separate accounting, cost accounting and price supervision obligations on all parties.

The plans include a reduction in mobile CTR over the next three years to stabilise the maximum rates. The proposals will also see Arcep encouraging operators to take full advantage of the growth of IP technology to streamline interconnection architectures and boost innovation.

Arcep said: “perators that pay for call termination services connect their networks to vendor operators' networks at points of interconnection that are determined by the latter. To allow client operators to take full advantage of IP technology (which offers greater capacities), Arcep believes it necessary to explicitly encourage greater efficiency by:

- Encouraging the sharing of interconnection points for fixed and mobile networks belonging to the same vendor operator, and for the networks of vendor operators belonging to the same group;

- Ensuring that the number of interconnection points required by a vendor operator corresponds only to what is necessary and sufficient for relaying call termination traffic under sufficiently secure conditions.”

The regulator is also looking at ways of accelerating fibre deployment in France, holding a consulation on the system, terms and conditions for awarding “fibre zone” status. This status is aimed at helping boost the pace of fibre access in France.

Arcep said:  “"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.”

By lifting the obligation to install copper telephone lines in new buildings, Arcep hopes the "fibre zone" status will drive a collective momentum for achieving successful deployments and high quality fibre local loop networks.

The regulator is asking stakeholders to share their views on this fibre zone status in order to make the benefits of this scheme clear to users, businesses and consumers.

Arcep’s public consultation on call termination rates will run 2 June 2017, while the consultation on fibre zones is scheduled to run until 24 May 2017.