Here in the United States, if we manage to get our six megabit per second broadband connections working half the time at promised speeds, we feel happy, and perhaps lucky. In comparison, French are living la vida loca when it comes to broadband. And even that is not enough.
French telecom incumbent, France Telecom says it is going all fiber, and will soon be looking to boost speeds of its consumer internet connections to a whopping 100 megabits per second in ten French cities. The fiber upgrade is part of a growing trend – using higher speed DSL connections to grab market share, and then slowly transition to fiber-based networks.
The plan is to spend about 270 million euros on the fiber network between 2007 and 2009. Cities like Lille, Lyon, Marseille, and Toulouse would be part of this fiber to the home upgrade. France Telecom hopes to attract between 150,000-to-200,000 customers for this new service by 2008. Interestingly, only 500 people signed up for its trial rollout.
What’s the catch, you might ask? As part of building this new fiber network, France Telecom won’t have to share its fiber network with smaller, more nimbler rivals. FT has been forced to share its copper infrastructure with upstarts like Iliad and Neuf Cegetel, which have done a great job of establishing themselves as worthy options to the incumbent.