Monday, September 11, 2006

La Ville Numerique

Switched on the PC this morning to the news that Free (Iliad) is to deploy a fiber access network in Paris. My French is poor, and the press release somewhat lacking in detail, but the closing paragraphs state that this marks formal participation by Free in the Paris: La Ville Numerique plan proposed by Paris Mayor Delanoe back in January (subsequently ratified by a vote of the Paris City Council on 10th July), and in my view adds more momentum to the French fiber revolution. Any additional local color from French Prix D'Or mega-uber value readers would be highly appreciated!

UPDATE: Iliad followed 20 minutes later with another release detailing the offer available in Q1 2007: 50Mbps (presumably symmetrical); unlimited calls to French fixed lines and some international; HDTV; all via the Freebox Optique... for a cool EUR29.99, the same price Free has charged for services for as long as anyone can remember.

UPDATE 2: By 9:00 AM, this was coming to resemble a 9/11-esque attack on France Telecom, with another release outlining that Free, through the Free Foundation, would be "engaging in combat against the digital divide" with a free universal service (for basic phone line with no subscription for emergency calls and calls to social services, narrowband internet access, and access to the free channels of France's DTT service). This package of services will be available throughout Paris and in other areas of France where Free has/will have fiber.

UPDATE 3: Another half hour, and Free announces that it will open its FTTH network to wholesale customers.

UPDATE 4: A Palladium Class mega-uber value reader points out that the releases are in English here. I have always received them via email in French for some reason, and historically there has been a time lag between the French and English versions, so I didn't even stop to look at the English site. Then again, this is huge news, so I guess they mobilized the translators a bit faster than previously.

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