the Senate adopts a law to streamline connections and facilitate appeals
The Senate adopted on Tuesday, May 2, unanimously, at first reading, a bill from the…
The Senate adopted on Tuesday, May 2, unanimously, at first reading, a bill from the senators Les Républicains (LR) to guarantee the quality of fiber optic connections and strengthen the rights of users in the event of a prolonged interruption. Internet access.
Of the more than 34 million French people eligible for the network, 18.1 million had a fiber optic subscription activated at the end of December 2022, according to the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (Arcep). The government announces the objective of a “generalization” by 2025, while the historic copper network of the operator Orange must be closed by 2030.
Mr. Chaize’s bill, which has yet to be submitted to deputies, provides for two areas of improvement. A first part, technical, starts from the observation that since 2018, due to the acceleration of the deployment of the fiber, the reports from the field report numerous malfunctions or degradations during the realization of the final connections.
The cause is a cascading subcontracting allowed by the “commercial operator subcontracting” (STOC) model: the infrastructure operator, who built the network, can have the improvements made by the Internet service provider which uses a technical service provider, which itself can still subcontract. Despite commitments made by operators, “defects persist”according to Mr. Chaize who underlines the importance of the issue: 15,000 connections are made every day.
The text provides in particular for the implementation by the network manager of a “one-stop shop” to provide support for connection difficulties encountered by users. He establishes a “minimum quality requirement base” and an obligation to label any party responsible for making a fiber connection. It even provides for the prohibition in certain cases of the STOC mode. The text also strengthens Arcep’s powers of control and sanction in terms of the quality of fiber connections.
A second aspect concerns the rights of users, in the event of a prolonged interruption of Internet access. Beyond five consecutive days of interruption, the payment of the subscription would be suspended. Beyond ten days, the consumer would benefit from compensation which could not be less, per day of delay, than one-fifth of the monthly price of the subscription. Beyond twenty days, it could be terminated free of charge by the user.
“This text crystallizes strong opposition between, on the one hand, local authorities and users, who are sometimes close to exasperation and expect concrete solutions, and on the other hand, commercial operators (…) who take a dim view of the intervention of the legislator”underlined the rapporteur, Patricia Demas (LR).
The French Telecoms Federation, which brings together national operators, including Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free, called in a statement to “the greatest vigilance as to the effects that such a law could produce, contrary to the objectives of migration of copper access to fiber, pursued by the public authorities”.
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However, for the author of the bill, Patrick Chaize, “the objective is in no way to question the current model”but to frame it. “This text is a great accelerator for doing and doing well”greeted for his part Frédéric Marchand (Rally of progressive and independent democrats, with a Renaissance majority).
Recognizing that “Very significant quality problems are poisoning the daily lives of our fellow citizens”the minister responsible for the digital transition, Jean-Noël Barrot, said he welcomed “very favorably” the provisions relating to the strengthening of Arcep’s powers and the improvement of user protection. The government has “a reserved opinion” on other measures, he said, stressing that “The government’s vision is not to remove the STOC mode, but to correct it”. The thirteen amendments presented by the government were rejected.
The World with AFP