Orange is active in many topic areas reflecting the considerable variety of business activitites and locations within our footprint. Included here are a selection of up-to-date breifings for policy makers and the public.
On May 6th 2015, the European Commission published its Digital Single Market strategy (also referred to as ‘DSM’).
This strategy is critical to restore growth, competitiveness and create jobs in the EU. Digital issues must be at the heart of EU action and the DSM strategy embodies the Commission’s focus towards these goals.
The position of the European digital industry on global markets is under great pressure. It is urgent to support its competitiveness, which depends on a deep reform of European policies.
Orange shares the Commission’s analysis on many topics, for instance with regards to the telecom review or to steps towards an efficient and harmonized spectrum management framework. With clear-cut policy orientations, the European Commission can greatly enhance trustin Europe’s digital future, from operators as well as from investors. Indeed, this trust is a pre-requisite that comes even before the implementation of profoundstructural reforms, which are sorely needed but will take much more time.
Orange urges the European Commission to set ambitions that can match the current stakes that : increase the level of investment in infrastructures, review the telecom regulation into a framework that would ensure a level playing field for all digital services. In this respect, the EC Communication on the DSM Strategy defines interesting guidance on spectrum and regulatory playing field in the digital value chain.
This section covers Orange views on the European public policies and regulatory initiatives that may impact the provision of internet and online content services applying to internet companies and telecom operators.
The globalization of the internet has led to unprecedented digital growth: internet services based on new business models are competing with traditional businesses. The old rules are no longer adequate and yet still apply, while new issues are not addressed and require action. In addition, the rules differ for the same kinds of service, based only on differences in the underlying technologies.
It is therefore necessary to review and modernize the regulatory framework. Orange has developed a full set of proposals aiming at effective consumer protection, supporting the defence of public interests and promoting fair competition.
This wide range of regulatory issues is addressed in the following position papers:
- Telecom framework
- Net neutrality
- Content and services
- The Internet of Things
- Big data
Rules imposed to telecom operators have been fixed in 2002 and revised in 2009. The Commission asks whether they should be changed in a public consultation consisting of 218 questions allocated in 6 chapters.
The first chapter concerns the rationale and objectives of the regulatory framework which in Orange’s views, should be rethought. The current framework aimed at the transition from monopoly to competition. This is over. Today, the framework should support competition, but as a priority it should aim at maximizing the contribution of telecoms to the development of Europe’s economy, mainly through continuous investments in better networks diffusing technical progress.
Chapter 2 is about access obligations imposed to network operators holding Significant Market Power. Orange’s view is that these rules must be deeply reoriented and simplified.
- they should only concern fixed access infrastructures which are the only remaining bottleneck, and apply only where there are less than 3 competitors,
- where they subsist, they should apply symmetrically to all infrastructure owners, telcos, cablecos and local infrastructures operators,
- they must stay investment friendly. The right to get access should not go without the obligation to share the risk of investment in fixed infrastructure.
Chapter 3 is about the allocation of radio frequencies necessary for mobile services. The main question is whether spectrum allocation should be done at European level. Orange considers that rules for spectrum allocation should be European and binding for Member States, but implementation should stay national for the time being. Allocation at European level would be premature considering the state of markets. Spectrum allocation should follow market needs and not serve as an instrument for market design by public authorities.
Chapter 4 concerns regulation of communication services in a context where telecom services and on-line services provided over the internet come together from users’ point of view, while subject to dissimilar regulatory obligations. Orange’s view is that telecom rules should not be extended to on-line services. On the contrary, telecom rules should be focused of the protection of end-users of Internet Access Service (IAS) and on the enforcement of obligations associated to the use of telephone numbers irrespectively of the service provider. All other services provided by telecom operators should be subject to the horizontal regulation which similarly applies to on-line services.
Chapter 5 concerns coverage and universal service issues. Orange supports the political objective of universal coverage of Internet Access Services. Member States can achieve this objective with a mix of pro-investment regulation to encourage a competition driven coverage by market players, public support of demand for high speed connectivity through public procurement or tax benefit and public funding for the extra cost of passive infrastructure in remote areas.
Chapter 6 concerns institutions. Should there be a European regulator? Orange’s view is that to achieve consistent regulation in the EU, the priority is to reduce regulation hence providing less room for fragmentation. Full harmonization should be chosen for the remaining rules and regulations should be preferred to directives. Only once a limited set of strong European rules are enforced, the issue of a European regulator may be considered.
The Commission sets new European ambitions in the digital field.
6 May 2015: the European Commission publishes its strategy for a Digital Single Market in Europe. This strategy is based on 3 pillars:
- A better access to digital services for individuals and businesses throughout Europ
- Better conditions for the development of networks and services, with a revised regulatory framework to foster infrastructure investment and innovation
- A digital economy to drive the European growth.
Each pillar is developed into various measures, with a total of 16 actions towards the objectives.
Committed to Europe, Orange will actively contribute to the targets underlying the Digital Single Market, that include the deployment of high performance infrastructures and the restoration of trust in the digital economy. In doing so, Orange is also an active participant of ongoing debates for the elaboration process of digital policies.
Committed to Europe, Orange is an active contributor to ongoing debates for the elaboration process of digital policies towards European objectives such as the completion of the DSM, the roll out of infrastructures and the consolidation of trust in the digital economy.
May 6, 2015: Orange welcomes the Commission’s approach in its digital single market strategy for Europe. Restoring growth, competitiveness and employment is possible only if digital becomes a priority, at the heart of the EU agenda.
Orange’s vision regarding the DSM strategy is being developed through the material on this site but is also voicedthrough the ETNO and GSMA associations.
20 March 2015: Orange shares the general conclusion of the consultation conducted by the Swedish government: common rules can help restore growth in Europe. Orange is convinced that a European framework is needed to ensure growth and a better economic balance for the benefits of both consumers and businesses.
24 February 2015: Contribution to the #Digital4EU initiative
In this forum set up by the European Commission, stakeholders were asked to provide inputs through posts published on a dedicated platform.
Orange provided inputs on 5 topics: what to expect from the DSM strategy; which framework for digital services; how to foster investment in infrastructures; which ecosystem for innovation; and which demand stimulus plans for the adoption of services and the roll out of networks. In the section on available data sets, Orange formulates 4 proposals: demand evaluation for converged fixed-mobile offers and the cost of change, financial grants for NGA networks: supply or demand-oriented? ; digital services regulation and proposals for a reform.
The industry’s viewpoints
As a telecom operator, Orange feeds the public debate with insights as a fixed line incumbent operator within ETNO, and as a mobile operator within the GSMA. These associations take an active part to the European debate, either by responding to consultations or providing inputs during the legislative process.