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NET NEUTRALITY

Arcep begins the work of enforcing European regulation on open internet access, and publishes a French version of the BEREC guidelines 

Paris, 21 October 2016


Publication of a French version of the net neutrality guidelines

Today, Arcep is publishing a courtesy French translation of the guidelines for National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on the implementation of the European regulation of 2015 laying down new rules concerning open internet access, which BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) published on 30 August of this year. As Sébastien Soriano reiterated at the BEREC Stakeholder Forum meeting of 17 October 2016, “creating an open digital environment that welcomes and nurtures innovation will be at the heart of national regulatory authorities’ preoccupations and work programmes in the coming months”.

In France, the Digital Republic Act introduces the principle of net neutrality into national law, and gives Arcep investigative and punitive powers to ensure compliance. Arcep will thus be able to fully carry out its mandate of custodian of the principle of net neutrality. 


Proactive dialogue with operators

It is with this in mind that Arcep has reaffirmed its desire to help operators properly implement the European regulation. The Arcep body responsible for settling disputes, legal proceedings and investigations (referred to in French as “RDPI”) will thus engage a proactive dialogue with them in the coming months.
In the more immediate future, operators will be sent a questionnaire whose purpose is to obtain a detailed snapshot of practices in the marketplace. It is also meant to bring operators to question the relevance and justification of their practices with respect to the new regulation. This first diagnostic tool will later be completed by other mechanisms, notably those to emerge from the call for crowdsourcing partnerships that Arcep issued in June, and from the consumer complaint platform that Arcep will be opening in 2017, in keeping with its strategic review roadmap.


European cooperation


The task of monitoring the compliance of operators’ practices will not be a solitary one. Plans are already in place for national regulatory authorities’ reports and analyses to be shared at the European level, to ensure that the open internet access regulation is enforced consistently. A series of meetings has already begun to guarantee smooth and open communication within BEREC – of which France will be the Chair in 2017 – and to develop common supervision tools.


First status reports in mid-2017


As stipulated in the European regulation, Arcep and its counterparts will produce their first annual report on their monitoring of and findings regarding net neutrality. These reports will be made public, and will be submitted to both BEREC and the European Commission.
Arcep plans on using this report as an opportunity to deliver a broader state of play on the internet, including details on issues such as data interconnection, quality of service, adoption of IPv6, etc.

A comparative analysis of the national reports on net neutrality will mark an important step in the process of confirming that the European regulation is being enforced consistently. Their contents will be summarised in a single Europe-wide report that BEREC will work on, and which will be released in late 2017.



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