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Posted by Meghan Fuller Hanna

In the last issue of Lightwave Europe, European editor Kurt Ruderman noted that in less than two years, France has become Europe's most competitive FTTH market. (Click here for that story.)

It may have taken another step forward today.

The International Herald Tribune is reporting that the French government plans to require all new apartment buildings with more than 25 units to be outfitted with fiber by 2010. The cost of installing fiber would be included in the sale price of the apartment. (See "France to require apartments to come wired.")

"The government's goal is to give very fast broadband a push in the back," government spokesman Luc Chatel was quoted as saying. "There's an obstacle to access, which is the entrance to the building."

The proposed law, to be voted on by Parliament this summer, would allow all network operators access to the buildings. Those operators would then decide among themselves whether and how to share local neighborhood switching nodes, says the article. And for issues that go beyond building access, the government would defer to the judgment of France's telecommunications regulator, ARCEP.

There is no shortage of competition in France today, particularly around Paris. France Telecom--the first European incumbent to commit to FTTH--and alternative providers like Free and Neuf Cegetel, plus cable TV provider Numericable, are deploying fiber at a rapid clip. Each of their targeted homes passed numbers in the millions. And all have pursued these plans aggressively despite regulatory uncertainty in areas like vertical deployment and building access. It will be interesting to watch what happens once these regulations are in place.


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The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions.

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave, which makes him responsible for the editorial aspects of the Lightwave franchise. A technology journalist since 1982, he once had his job duties described as "gets paid to tick off advertisers ".

Meghan Fuller is senior editor of Lightwave. She has degrees from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and the University of Delaware and is a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.