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Cablegate: French Telecom Developments From Enterprise Directorate

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Lucia A Keegan 11/08/2006 02:46:19 PM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS SENSITIVE PARIS 07119

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: ECON
INFO: SCIO TRDO ESCI FCS POL ORA AMB AGR LABO DCM
ECNO ENGO UNESCO ECSO SCI

DISSEMINATION: ECONOUT /1
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: ECON:SDWYER
DRAFTED: ECON:HSULLIVAN
CLEARED: NONE

VZCZCFRI127
RR RUEHC RUCPDOC RUEAFCC RUEAWJA RUCNMEM
DE RUEHFR #7119/01 3031718
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301718Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2692
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAFCC/FCC WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 007119

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE EB/CIP AND EUR/WE
PLEASE PASS TO USTR JMCHALE AND KSCHAGRIN
FCC FOR TWEISLER
COMMERCE FOR NTIA
JUSTICE FOR KWILLNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS ECON FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH TELECOM DEVELOPMENTS FROM ENTERPRISE DIRECTORATE
PERSPECTIVE

NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION

REF: PARIS 6811

1. (SBU) Summary: GOF Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry
Information and Communications Technologies Director Emmanuel Gabla
told us on October 19 that he was discussing with EU counterparts
whether to regulate next generation fiber networks used for
broadband and cable TV. Gabla admitted the U.S. had encouraged
investment in building such networks by announcing that it would not
force operators to provide access to competitors. Gabla informed us
that the Senate will debate a bill on November 20-22 that would
foster television over mobile phone networks, introduce high
definition television (HDTV), and replace analog TV with digital TV
by 2011. Gabla said the GOF is united in its support for provisions
in the new copyright legislation that mandate interoperability
between different digital music players. End summary.

2. (SBU) On October 19, Econoff discussed next generation
telecommunication networks, Internet neutrality, the possible merger
of France's telecommunications and television regulators, changes in
France's ICANN representative, and copyright legislation with
Information and Communication Technologies Director Emmanuel Gabla.

Next Generation Networks
------------------------
3. (SBU) According to Gabla, the EU is discussing whether and how to
regulate new fiber-optic broadband infrastructure. Gabla noted that
U.S. investment in such infrastructure was more advanced because USG
made an early, public commitment not to regulate this area. While
Europe has taken note of this approach, most argue that the services
provided over such networks are essentially the same as telephony
and should be regulated as such. Gabla said the decision will
ultimately be made at the European, not member-state level. The EU
is also debating the implications this decision would have for
universal service.

Net Neutrality
--------------
4. (SBU) Gabla said that French telecommunication firms are
observing the debate in the U.S. regarding net neutrality with
interest. Europe is beginning to debate the issue as well, Gabla
said. He thought that companies arguing in favor of net neutrality,
such as Google and Yahoo, made the more compelling arguments.

CSA/ARCEP Merger
----------------
5. (SBU) Gabla said an oft-discussed merger between French
telecommunications regulator Autorite de Regulation des
Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP) and Conseil
Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) would not take place over the next
year. Such a change would require legislation.

6. (SBU) Parliament is now considering a bill that would foster
television broadcasting over mobile phones, allow for the
introduction of high definition television (HDTV), and envision the
replacement of analog television by digital TV in 2011. Advisors in
both the Prime Minister's and President's Offices had suggested the
bill might also provide for the merger of the two organizations for
better frequency management. The CSA and ARCEP oppose such
provisions, however, and the proposal does not appear in the current
text of the bill. Nor does Gabla think such a clause will be added,
since the bill needs to be rushed through by February when the
campaign for 2007 elections will begin in earnest. Should the
Socialists win, he thought, they may reconsider the merger since CSA
leadership had been nominated by the right-of-center Union for a
Popular Movement (UMP). A merger might be a way of getting rid of
the UMP nominees.

ICANN
-----
7. (SBU) The GOF has chosen Bertrand de la Chapelle (former advisor
to the French Minister for European Affairs and an organizer of the
OpenWSIS Initiative) as its Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN) Government Advisory Committee (GAC)
representative. Despite the change of representative, French
priorities remain the same. The GOF thinks the role of the GAC
should be strengthened beyond that of an advisory body, and ICANN
needs to internationalize. The private and public sectors of all
regions should participate in ICANN. While the U.S. argues that
ICANN should not be under the control of governments, Gabla said,
the USG enjoys a disproportionate amount of influence on the body.
Gabla said the EU was coordinating policy on this issue. He said
the French would continue to work productively with the U.S., as it
has in the past, while continuing to lobby for change in a low-key
way.
Copyright Legislation
---------------------
8. (SBU) Gabla said that while the Ministry of Culture has the lead
in drafting technical measures in support of new copyright
legislation (reftel), support for the principle of interoperability
enjoys interagency support. "We cannot accept fragmentation of the
market. You should not have to pay for the same music twice to play
it on two different machines." Gabla believes the present
"fragmentation" encourages illegal downloading. But Gabla said he
understood U.S. concern over the negative implications of mandated
interoperability for the intellectual property of affected firms.

HOFMANN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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