Anyone still skeptical of even a touch of dirigisme in telecom policy should take a quick look at this piece in Spiegel on France’s broadband boom:
In 2000, France’s national telecom regulator forced former state-owned monopoly France Telecom (FTE) to open up its network to rival operators, a process known as “local loop unbundling.” . . . . Of course, the U.S. also implemented local loop unbundling, but it didn’t work as well. Powerful incumbent telecoms such as SBC Communications fought the measures and did everything they could to stall.
What I love best is this little anecdote from Reed Hundt:
Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt recalls that when he began implementing local loop unbundling after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, The Wall Street Journal called him a “French bureaucrat” in an editorial.
Sadly, the WSJ is still at it. Google is looking mighty Gallic–perhaps Jeanneny can now find it in his heart to forgive them. Check out Susan Crawford’s blog for commentary.