French telecoms watchdog the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes’ (Arcep’s) newly established sanctioning body – Reglement des Differends de Poursuite et d’Instruction (RDPI) – has initiated 19 proceedings against eleven of the country’s fixed and mobile operators for failure to meet their respective obligations.
As previously noted by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the watchdog officially regained its power to sanction with Decree No. 2014-867 of 1 August 2014; under the new provisions, different members of the Arcep executive board are assigned different tasks in order to ensure that the principle of separating investigative and sanctioning powers is met. The RDPI comprises four board members, including the chairman of Arcep, and is tasked with adopting decisions on formal notices, investigations, dispute settlements and inquiries, while the remaining three board members will make decisions on whether to impose penalties.
Arcep has now initiated the investigation phase of the process, following meetings of the executive board on 9, 11 and 23 September 2014; the first stage aims to assess the operators’ behaviour, and if the authority fails to receive ‘a satisfactory response’, the RDPI could issue a formal notice to operators to comply with their obligations within a set timeframe. Should the operators fail to comply with the formal notice, the RDPI can then initiate proceedings by forwarding the case to the Formation Restreinte, which has the power to impose penalties.