The French Telecommunications Regulation Authority (ART) has published today new rules regarding public and private use of WiFi networks in France:
- Private use: no authorization required
- Public use (only in the 2.4GHz band):
- Access points connected directly to an already authorized network: no authorization required
- Creation of a network to link the access points: simple declaration
Experiments are encouraged and require a simple declaration.
Both private and public networks must follow the technical constraints, which limit the power depending on the region (Metropolitan, DOM, TOM), whether the use is indoors or outdoors and which band (2.4 or 5GHz) is used.
All 13 channels in the 2.4GHz are authorized. Outdoors usage of the 5GHz band remains forbidden, pending the adoption of a new law.
Side note: Apple has modified its AirPort and AirPort Extreme hardware shipped to France since July 1st (July 7 for the AirPort Extreme station), to allow the use of all the 13 2.4GHz channels. Owners of old AirPort HW (cards and stations) as well as AirPort Extreme cards shipped in the PowerBook 17' prior to that date are out of luck as the manufacturer will not update or upgrade those. Since chances are that the vast majority of public networks in France will operate out of the tiny band that was previously authorized (10 to 13), you won't be able to connect your PowerBook to them, and that hurts. [Source: GeeBlog]