The French telecoms regulator Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) has ordered seven wireless in the local loop (WiLL) 3.4GHz-3.6GHz licence holders to comply with their rollout obligations, following a review of WiLL it launched back in the summer. The watchdog has been working for several months on issues relating to the deployment of WiLL, including a public consultation (from 23 May to 23 June 2011) on the status of rollouts and the outlook for its use and development.
In a statement published earlier this week, Arcep said that on 21 July – as part of its verification process of 3.4GHz-3.6GHz licence holders – the Director of Legal Affairs notified 16 licensees ‘of the commencement of a procedure provided for in Article L. 36-11 of the French Postal and electronic communications code (CPCE), concerning their compliance with the obligations listed in the terms of their licences’. Having received their responses on the commercial availability of their WiLL services, the regulator subsequently carried out an investigation into ten licence holders in mainland France and concluded that seven of the ten have failed to meet the terms of their rollout obligations, in terms of the number of WiLL transmission sites deployed. The seven are: Altitude Telecom, Axione, Bollore Telecom, the Department of Charente, the territorial collective of Corsica, Nomotech and SHD. Further, three of these firms – Altitude Telecom, Bollore Telecom and the territorial collective of Corsica – were found to have failed to even make use of the frequencies in each of the Departments for which they were issued a licence. Under Arcep’s definition ‘actual use’ involves deploying at least one transmission site and launching a commercially available service.
‘In light of these failures, and in accordance with CPCE Article L. 36-11, the Director General of Arcep issued these licence holders with an order to comply with their rollout obligations,’ the release says. As such the WiLL licensees involved are now expected to satisfy the following requirements:
• by 30 June 2012: actual use of the assigned frequencies in all of the Departments for which they hold a licence, and deployment of a number of transmission sites at least equal to half the number the licence holder committed to having deployed by 30 June 2008;
• by 31 December 2012: deployment of a number of transmission sites at least equal to the number the licence holder committed to having deployed by 30 June 2008;
• by 30 June 2015: deployment of a number of transmission sites at least equal to the number the licence holder committed to having deployed by 31 December 2010.
Should the WiLL licence holders fail to meet these minimum requirements, Arcep says they are liable to face the penalties provided for in CPCE Article L. 36-11.