France invades!Well they have invaded the internet via broadband in the last 12 months. BBC News Online ran a nice article on Friday which you can see here.
The situation is not unlike the UK it seems. End of 2000 they have 60000 ADSL users, end of 2001 it's upto 700,000, with 15,000 lines going in a week, i.e. hopefully where UK will be in 12 months time. It would appear a lot of the takeup has been driven by self-install kits and the pricing is only a slightly less than UK, i.e. they are paying £27.50/month plus cost of kit, you can rent the hardware at £7.30 a month, or buy it for £72. How long their contracts are isnt said.
So yes the UK isnt quite down to that price but if you read around you can find a survey here which shows that Cable and DSL pricing in the US rose around 12% during 2001. Cable now costing on average £31 ($44.22) and DSL costing £35 ($51.67), which is interesting as that almost matches the UK pricing for the bottom end of the market, the UK average has around £5 to fall still, but give it another 6-8 months and that is likely.
What is perhaps most interesting is that the same discussions are occurring in both France and US, in France the dominant teleco, is been accussed of stifling the market, mmm 60,000 to 700,000 users seems the public is happy to pay. In the US the arguments are about pushing more users into broadband, lack of specific broadband content, how the jump from $20 dialup to cable/DSL is a large jump. In terms of content perhaps the news that Wallace and Gromit are to appear in 12 shorts on the web will encourage people to see what broadband can do, which with the short wires-only contract people may be more willing to give it a go.