France to merge media and telecom regulators
August 29, 2012 11.34 Europe/London By Robert Briel

The French government has announced the launch of an investigation into the future of television regulation in the country.

The plan is to merge the media authority Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) and the telecoms regulator Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes (ARCEP).

Speaking recently, the French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said TV programmes are being delivered more over fixed (ADSL, cable, optical fibre) and wireless networks, and to a growing array of devices (computers, tablets, smartphones and connected TVs).

This in turn is gradually diminishing the scope of current television regulation, which is tied mainly to terrestrial broadcasting, according to the French government. “More and more, TV programming is being delivered to the public in the same way as other online content (text, images, files, data, etc.), ie via electronic communications networks, and particularly via the internet, often using servers located outside our borders.”

The plan is to hear the two regulatory bodies and reach a decision before the end of November, 2012.

In a statement ARCEP commented on the government’s plans “As ARCEP had wished, the Government’s process will begin with an exploration of changes in regulatory objectives, then focus on how this will affect the way in which France’s regulatory authorities are organised – within the limits allowed by European Law.

“ARCEP also welcomes the fact that the conclusions that will be delivered to the Prime Minister in late November will be established based on analyses and proposals drafted by the regulatory authorities concerned by these developments. ARCEP will lend its full experience and expertise to the task, to help in the successful completion of this endeavour. “