Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Free fiber to the home in France

[While North America continues to debate the pros and cons of net neutrality the rest of the world is racing to solve the real problem that underlies the debate of network neutrality - and that is solving the bandwidth bottleneck in the last mile on an open, competitive, non-discriminatory basis.

A good example is Iliad in France which has signed a deal with Paris Municipal government to do a city wide roll out of FTTH. In buildings where they install fiber, Iliad will over a free introductory service which will include low speed Internet access, emergency telephone services and basic cable. For 30 Euros a month customers will get 50 Mbps Internet service, free telephony within France and HTDV cable TV package.

Iliad represents a growing trend where new innovative companies are able to identify and capitalize on new horizontal business models for FTTh, rather than the traditional vertical monopoly of the telcos and cabelcos. This reflects a similar trend we are seeing in the UK, Amsterdam, Burlington VT, and elsewhere, where companies are specializing solely in the physical transport of FTTH and letting other companies deliver cable TV, telephony and Internet services - many of which will be free such as Inuk, Joost, etc

It is also good to see that Iliad recognizes PON as a captive technology and instead is building a home run architecture. Thanks to Robert Shaw for this pointer -- BSA]