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Public Consultation in France on the Transposition of the European Electronic Communications Code (Directive 2018/1972 of December 11, 2018)

The French government has launched a public consultation on the transposition of Directive (EU) 2018/1972 December 11, 2018, establishing the EU Electronic Communications Code (EECC), which must be transposed before December 21, 2020.

What Is It About?

The consultation concerns the draft modification of the French Postal Services and Electronic Communications (CPCE) and French Consumer Code, with a view to transposing the EECC.

What Is EECC?

Since the liberalization of the telecoms sector in 1998, there have been three telecoms “packages” – in 2002, 2009 and 2018 – with this directive. In this new directive, there is no longer a “package” of five directives, but a single directive “code”. However, the EECC is fundamentally in line with the previous texts.

The emphasis is placed on investment in new generation networks (very high capacity networks, such as optical fibre and 5G), in addition to other more traditional objectives, such as competition (including an “efficient infrastructure-based competition”) or the development of the internal market.

The French government states that the aim of the code is to create a harmonized framework within the EU for the regulation of electronic communications networks and services, whether these are intended for telecoms or audiovisual. The aim is to:

  • Regulate access to communications networks and services, whether fixed or mobile, using concepts from competition law ex-ante

  • Guarantee the quality, resilience and security of networks

  • Grant rights to users of electronic communications services (number porting, information to be included in contracts, maximum duration of contracts, etc.)

For more information, see our publication on the EECC.

How Is the Consultation Presented?

This is the draft modification of the CPCE, which is broken down into seven annexes, with the full text of the proposed modifications and that of the Consumer Code in an eighth annex, as follows:

  • Annex 1: Transposition relating to definitions and governance

  • Annex 2: Transposition relating to general authorization and legal obligations

  • Annex 3: Transposition relating to information on the state of the networks, planning of deployments and requests for information to companies

  • Annex 4: Transposition relating to the universal service for electronic communications

  • Annex 5: Transposition relating to access

  • Annex 6: Transposition relating to spectrum p

  • Annex 7: Transposition relating to the numbering

  • Annex 8: Transposition relating to consumer rights

What Are the Consequences for Internet-based Services and OTT?

The EECC now includes “over the top” (OTT) service providers in electronic communications operators.

The new definition of electronic communications operator introduced by the EECC is now based on a functional approach, taking into account the evolution of uses and willingness to offer better protection to end users. It includes:

  • Number-based interpersonal communications service (traditional telcos, but also OTTs)

  • Number-independent interpersonal communications services, internet access services and transmission services signal

Although they will now be integrated into electronic communications law, number-independent interpersonal communications services are, however, subject only to certain obligations contained therein (in particular, alert to populations, interceptions, protection of communications data Directive 2002/58 / EU…)

For more information, see our publication on the EECC and OTTs.

Who Has Drafted the Text Presented for Consultation?

The government specifies that transposition is the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (in association with other ministries possibly concerned) and, more particularly, the General Directorate for business (DGE), with respect to modification to the CPCE, and the French regulator in charge of consumer protection (DGCCRF), with respect modification to the consumer code.

The government has asked Parliament to empower it to make the legislative provisions relating to this transposition by ordinance (meaning without the full legislative process before Parliament – there is a revision by Parliament after the enactment) within the framework of the bill on audiovisual communication and cultural sovereignty in the digital age.

What is the Deadline to Contribute?

Contributions should be sent no later than March 16, 2020, as follows:

  • electronically to the following email address:

consultation-transposition.cece@finances.gouv.fr

  • by post to the following address:

Directorate-General for Companies
Department of the digital economy

SDCEP
67, rue Barbès – BP
80001 94201 IVRY-SUR-SEINE CEDEX

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 45

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About this Author

Stephanie Faber International Business Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Paris, France
Of Counsel

Stephanie Faber heads the Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice and the Intellectual Property & Technology Practice in the Paris office. She specialises in international business law, with more than 20 years of experience. Her legal practice encompasses business transactions and operations, as well regulatory and compliance work.

In relation to the Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, Stephanie advises on:

  • GDPR gap assessment and compliance programs
  • Data breach management and notification
  • Database creation, international...
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