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Fiber (continued)

rival Illiad (via Free, its service provider) is offering 100 Mbps of service through its own fiber to the premises (FTTP) infrastructure but almost exclusively to apartment buildings. As of 2007 Illiad/Free offered FTTH to 241,000 homes versus 146,000 for France Télécom/Orange.27 Neuf Cegetel provides access to 120,000 homes.28 Numericable, the largest cable provider (formerly owned by France Télécom) provides broadband access via cable to 2 million households.29

Demand

The French government has not been directly involved in supporting the development of broadband content to spur demand. However, the growing ubiquity of broadband access has encouraged providers to bundled services, particularly telephony, Internet access, and television. In addition, many residential users have been able to access video-on-demand (VoD) and TV over broadband since 2004.30 The popularity and availability of these services has, in turn, driven demand for higher rates of broadband access.

ENDNOTES

  • 1.

    OECD measures penetration on a per capita basis because comprehensive data on household penetration is generally unavailable. ITIF has used average household size as a multiplier to convert June 2007 OECD per capita penetration data to household penetration data. It should be noted that one problem with this method is that the OECD data likely also includes some DSL business subscribers.

  • 2.

    International Telecommunications Union, “Internet Indicators: Subscribers, Users, and Broadband Subscribers,” International Telecommunications Union ICT Statistics Database (ITU, 2006) <www.itu.int/ITU-D/icteye/Indicators/ Indicators.aspx#>.

  • 3.

    Unbundling is a policy by which regulators require incumbent telecommunications operators (those with dominant market status who control access to the telecommunications infrastructure) or cable companies to give their competitors access to raw copper pairs, fiber, or coaxial cable networks so that they can install their own transmission equipment at the incumbent’s central office (local exchange). Full unbundling requires the incumbent to make all copper pair frequencies or fiber networks available to competitors. Shared access to the local loop requires the incumbent to make the “high” frequency bands (those that carry data, but not voice) of the copper pair available to its competitors, allowing them to offer xDSL broadband services. Bitstream access requires incumbent operators to allow competitors access to the incumbents’ equipment at their central office. Cable access enables competitors to use cable companies’ coaxial cable local loops and fiber access requires telecommunications operators to give competitors access to their fiber local loops.

  • 4.

    International Telecommunications Union, “Internet Indicators: Subscribers, Users, and Broadband Subscribers,” International Telecommunications Union ICT Statistics Database (2006) <www.itu.int/ITU-D/icteye/Indicators/ Indicators.aspx#>.

  • 5.

    Our methodology for calculating broadband speed in the ITIF Broadband Rankings involves averaging the speeds of the incumbent DSL, cable and fiber offerings provided in the OECD’s April 2006 “Multiple Play,” report, with each assigned a weight according to that technology’s respective percentage of the nations overall broadband subscribership, as reported in the OECD’s “Broadband Statistics to December 2006.”

  • 6.

    USD price per bit (PPP) of the fastest available technology is calculated from the broadband offerings examined in the OECD’s “Multiple Play: Pricing and Policy Trends” report.

THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION FOUNDATION

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MAY 2008

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