France Racing Ahead in Broadband

29 Mar ’06

We’ve heard it many times, often via Om, but the transformation of French telecom has been remarkable, and the penetration of ridiculously fast broadband a case study in in fostering innovation. From the WSJ:

For years, France’s telecommunications industry was a state-owned monopoly with one of the world’s most backward broadband markets. But thanks to deregulation six years ago, French consumers have access to high-speed Internet service that is much faster and cheaper than in the U.S.

One telecom company in particular has exploited the changes and created competition in France — a start-up called Iliad. Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a “triple play” package called Free that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet. The least expensive comparable package from most cable and phone operators in the U.S. is more than $90, although more TV channels are generally included.

Via Om. Postnote: Lessig comments on the rollout of lastmile fiber in Japan, and as an added bonus, why in matters copyright North America is now South America.

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