Citing a link between broadband investments and enhancing the economy, the French government will allocate $2.88 billion to encourage service provider network investments in smaller cities and rural areas. To close the broadband have and have not gap, France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced the government would offer a series of low-interest loans to encourage service providers to build fiber-based broadband networks to smaller towns and rural areas.
France's fiber broadband availability gap is an often heard story. While service providers in France are building out fiber-based broadband services in Paris and other major cities, little progress has been made in bringing these services to other provinces.
"We are at the dawn of the era of high-speed Internet and fiber-optic networks," Mr. Fillon said in a speech. "However, 500,000 French people don't have access to high speed Internet at all. This is not acceptable."
France's program would encourage incumbent carriers (France Telecom) and competitors (Iliad) to jointly build out local fiber networks. The idea behind these joint investments, argues Fillon, would ensure that one service provider could not gain a monopoly over a fiber network in one area. Three French service providers are conducting trials in three towns surrounding Paris on how to share access to fiber networks.
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