Over at Wired, a non-economist writes:
France has more broadband DSL customers than most countries, including the United States. But if you happen to be one of the millions of customers having major problems with your connection, then life can be a living hell. High-tech service in France is like service in a Parisian cafe -- intermittent and snooty.
The problem is that there are at least 10 DSL companies battling for a share of the French market. The companies do a good job of selling services, often bundling phone and TV service with DSL. Unfortunately, the companies make promises to gain subscribers without having the infrastructure in place to make good on them.
Despite often appalling DSL service in France, there has been no severe public backlash.
In a country where government controls keep most critical services -- like medical care -- reliable and affordable, people are used to taking their complaints through the proper channels.
The author of this piece implies that competition is the problem and government intervention the solution. But what's really going on? What's the market failure here and what, if anything, can the government do to fix it? I'll be posting my answer soon - in the meantime, comments are open and I'm looking forward to reading your suggestions.