07/04/2005

More on unbundling

I just returned from a brief holiday in France. I stayed near a tiny village called Ampus which is in Provence. The house I was in was a 15th century old farmhouse, which was next to 3 other houses. Ampus itself (the "main" village) is about 6 minutes away and Tourtour about 10 minutes the other way. The total population of the two communes is about 1,000 people.

In June (or thereabouts) this year they're getting broadband. Whether it's from the encumbant France Telecom I didn't ascertain - but it's coming.

Local loop unbundling has taken off big time in France, and triple plays are the norm. Advertisments on TV were showing a basic offering of around 9.99 Euros per month for 10Mb/s. I think you had to take telephony with that package (which is actually delivered as VoIP) but the end user doesn't care. How the actual calls are delivered to them is irrelevent as long as the call quality is good, and they offer competetive telephony rates anyway.

The UK has got a fair way to go before hitting European levels of unbundling and unfortunately with BT's current pricing policy and Ofcom's late play of being serious about LLU it's going to be hard to achieve sensible pricing that can match EU offerings, in fact the UK may never catch up.
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