French telecoms watchdog the Authority of Regulation for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) has launched a two-month public consultation regarding the future use of the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz frequency bands. Feedback from the public consultation – coupled with results of ten ongoing trials in the bands, which were authorised by Arcep in March 2016 – will enable Arcep to determine effectively how the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands could contribute, in the short term, to ultrafast fixed access and professional mobile network (PMR) rollouts and, in the medium term, to deploying 5G. Arcep proposes to identify and allow for the allocation of 40MHz in the 2.6GHz band for PMR networks, and 40MHz in the 3.5GHz band for fixed-wireless ultrafast networks in rural areas, starting in the second half of 2017. The remainder of the 3.5GHz band will later be made accessible for 5G, ‘once the technology is more mature’. All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 6 March 2017.