I must say when I came across the Wall Street Journal's article my first reaction was, well yes we do get a good offer for Internet access over here in France. When my sister went to England recently I was looking at the prices for her and I was pretty astonished. I mean there were a few cheap offers but they were often accompanied with small print that indicated that you had a 5 Gig bandwidth limit for example and/or a 128K connection and that was it. No Wifi included and I can remember one offer saying and if you want to share the line it will cost you more.
Here in France I have a 7-8 Mbps connection, free national and European land line calls and also free calls to North American land lines, a box that I can add a PCMCIA Wifi card to if I want and as the article says you can also get TV channels (which I don't subsribe to). However I use Neuf Telecom and not Free.
It's surprising that France should have been successful here whereas the pro-deregulation countries like the US and the UK have created a system where sole the owners of the telecom companies are getting the best out of the situation rather and consumers are just there to fill their pockets without being a innovation motivator...
[...] This also brings me to talk about an article in the financial times that seems to argue in favour of letting the companies do the bidding and selling of there services as usual. But I can’t stop thinking that there is an analogy between this and the way that France created a system that regulates telecom companies and strives to stop abuse from companies that have real power over others, resulting in innovative services and prices for the consumers. [...]