The French telecoms regulator Arcep is requesting that the government beef up its regulatory powers to ensure that it can force former monopoly France Telecom (FT) to provide rival operators equal access to its infrastructure in order to roll out high speed fibre-optic networks across the country. Last month the French incumbent submitted its proposal for opening up its telecoms ducts to Arcep and said it would complete a wholesale network access offer by the end of the year. However Thomson Financial reports that, in its analysis of the current state of competition in the so-called ‘last mile’, Arcep agrees with other French operators that ‘France Telecom exercises a significant influence on the national market in the availability of the infrastructure of the local loop.’ The watchdog is said to be encouraged by the ‘principles’ of the former monopoly’s draft, but wants to see more movement in its ‘actual’ proposal. ‘A balance needs to be found between operators’ rights and obligations so that fibre installation in buildings can be simplified,’ Arcep said.
Not surprisingly, FT is challenging this assessment and points to rival cableco Numericable which it claims is better placed in terms of the deployment of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services.