Speaking at the third digital forum Les Assises du Numérique in Paris, Minister Eric Besson, responsible for Industry, Energy and Digital Economy, has set a 10 year challenge for very high-speed broadband: namely, by that time, 70% of French territory must be covered.
As part of the Great Loan, or so-called Grand Emprunt, €4 billion will be use to stimulate digital economy, the Minister said, and €2 billion will go to broadband and fibre infrastructures.
In his speech, Eric Besson also indicated that, as part of the extension of broadband networks, he will launch on early 2011 the call for bids for the use of the new frequencies made available by digital dividend.
Regarding the existing mobile phone operators, they will have to make room for MVNO, when 4G mobile licences are granted. The tenth MVNO now represent 6% of the market and frequencies will be shared into four lots, to prevent any single company dominating the market.
French Minister of Culture Frédéric Miterrand also spoke at the event, speaking in favour of the control of the broadcasting and access to knowledge productions, of pluralism and creator copyrights. He also mentioned the necessity to reform EC VAT on online cultural goods such as VOD services.
"EC rules forbid to get a lower VAT for cultural industries online services, while book edition, press and pay TV’s VAT is lowered into the physical market. Such a situation is paradoxical. We need to debate about this question… so as to [make] cultural industries more competitive into digital era,” he said.