The Paris Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by the French telecommunications regulator ARCEP over the use of France Telecom ducts by the cablenet Numéricâble.

On November 4, 2010, following a request to settle a dispute from France Telecom, the regulator had ordered Numéricâble to comply with the operational terms set by France Telecom for accessing its civil engineering, when upgrading its network.

Numéricâble has been progressively upgrading its coaxial networks by deploying optical fibre cable using civil engineering ducts owned by France Telecom through a series of agreements between the two companies. With a number of operators now utilising its ducts France Telecom argued Numéricâble should be bound by the same terms and conditions.

In its June 24 ruling, the Court upheld the Authority’s assessment rejecting an appeal on the grounds of discrimination. “The task of regulation assigned to ARCEP by law gives it the power to impose on operators that fall under its purview restrictions and injunctions that affect the establishment, the content and the execution of their agreements and so restrict the principle of contractual freedom, for reasons of public policy in the economic sphere”.

The regulator said its co-ordination of France Telecom’s civil engineering system was is in the interest of all of the stakeholders involved in optical fibre rollouts.