The « Macron Law » promotes the digital economy

The French law n°2015-990 to promote the economic growth, activity and equity economic opportunity (known as “Macron Law”), dated August 6, 2015 and promulgated on August 7, 2015, includes provisions regarding electronic communications operators, Internet players and companies. The main ones are described below.

Provisions impacting electronic communications operators

Article 122 of the law regulates the sharing of the radio network between operators which hold a license to use frequencies. This article provides that the operators must establish an agreement which has to be communicated to the French electronic communications and postal regulation authority (ARCEP). ARCEP is empowered to deal with disputes arising out of the conclusion or the execution of this agreement.

Article 126 of the law compels territorial authorities to ensure to telecom operators access to public electronic communication infrastructures, under objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate financial conditions. In addition, the new provision indicates that the tariffs for accessing to the very high-speed optical fiber networks will be subject of guidelines drawn up by ARCEP.

Article 129 of the law confirms the definitive disappearance of the telephone booths in exchange for the telecommunication operators’ obligation to cover the white spots.

The coverage of these white areas must be ensured before December 31, 2016 for 2G mobile services and before June 30, 2017 for 3G mobile services. Should the operators fail to submit a satisfactory project to ARCEP, the latter may impose obligations on each operator in order to ensure an appropriate coverage.

Article 118 of the law includes various provisions in the French Construction and Housing Code to connect to optical fiber network:

  • The individual or collective new housing whose building or planning permit is after July 1, 2016, and new housing developments,
  • The collective existing housing where work is being carried out and is subject to planning permission (provided that the cost of the connection to fiber optical network is not disproportionate).

Since April 1, 2012, only the collective houses of more than 12 unit-residential housing were concerned by this requirement. A decree issued by France’s Conseil d’Etat will establish the modalities for the implementation of this new provision.

Moreover, article 114 amends the law n°65.557 on co-ownership dated July 10, 1965, in order to simplify the authorization procedure for introducing optical fiber in the common areas of the condominiums buildings: the co-owners of joint property now can give a mandate to the condominium council to decide on the installation of optical fiber cables. Until then, the general assembly could only decide on the introducing of high-speed networks upon the receipt of an operator’s proposal. It used to slow the whole process, since general assemblies usually take place once a year.

Provisions impacting Internet players

Article 4 of the law provides that public transport operators such as SNCF and RATP must allow an immediate and free electronic access to digital data relating to stops, tariffs, timetables and to accessibility for the disabled. However, there exists a possible derogation from the non-payment principle when justified by significant costs of providing information.

Article 134 requires every online marketplace to abide by the principles of “loyalty and transparency” for the intermediation services conditions and for the referencing of published offers.

Provisions impacting companies

Article 222 of the law provides that the Government shall take every measure to develop e-invoicing, Irrespective of the activities and without restrictions as regards size of the companies, within a period of 9 months following the promulgation of the law. The duty of acceptance of the e-invoices shall come into force progressively, according to the company size.

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