ARCEP accuses Free of misleading customers

2 Oct 2013

French telecoms watchdog ARCEP has issued a statement accusing mobile operator Free, a subsidiary of telecoms company Iliad Group, of misleading customers with its latest advertising campaign, which promises ‘every eligible subscriber [of its FTTH services] a dedicated speed of 1Gbps downlink (and 200Mbps uplink)’. According to the watchdog’s press release, the provision of the service depends not only on the design of Free’s access network, but also depends on the design of its entire infrastructure (collection and interconnection); thus the advertisement provided only partial information to end users. In addition, the regulator noted that the advertised speeds of Free’s VDSL2 network (downlink/uplink of 100Mbps/40Mbps) are also overstated, as ‘such purely theoretical results do not correspond to actual services that can be offered to the general public.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in April 2013 ARCEP authorised VDSL2 technology as suitable for commercial distribution without disrupting existing DSL networks/services. VDSL2 is applicable to copper lines and allows significant increase in the downlink speed in comparison with ADSL. However, due to equipment’s inherent physical limitations, the performance gain of VDSL2 is limited to copper lines whose length does not exceed 1km. For lines of greater length, the downlink of VDSL2 is equivalent to the speed provided by ADSL2+.

France, Arcep, Free Mobile (Iliad), Iliad (Free)