It's a funny world. I recently commented on a Wired article saying that 'French DSL is like a rude French waiter':
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.
A few days later, Paul Krugman wrote this for the NYT- entitling it 'The French Connection':
And when the Bush administration put Michael Powell in charge of the F.C.C., the digital robber barons were basically set free to do whatever they liked. As a result, there’s little competition in U.S. broadband — if you’re lucky, you have a choice between ... the local cable monopoly and the local phone monopoly. The price is high and the service is poor, but there’s nowhere else to go.
Meanwhile, as ... Business Week explains, the real French bureaucrats used judicious regulation to promote competition. As a result, French consumers get to choose from a variety of service providers who offer reasonably priced Internet access that’s much faster than anything I can get, and comes with free voice calls, TV and Wi-Fi.
If I may add my personal experience, broadband internet provision sucks in the UK too.
The moral of the story? The grass is always greener on the other side; Paul Krugman hates George Bush; and if you are looking for reliable broadband service, your best bet is moving to Mars. Nothing new here, but confirming one's priors is always a satisfying experience.