France Telecom own all the poles and lines- it's still a State-owned monopoly. There will be no problem with payment, as the farmer will have mandatory insurance. As to when it will be repaired, ah, that's a State secret, but don't hold your breath! Le paysan was hauling a full 'muckspreader', [ a PTO-powered machine that shreds manure and flings it on the pasture as fertilizer ], when he got too close to the ditch to let someone pass in the narrow lane and the thing tipped on its side. I happened by minutes later, which is how I know when it happened. BTW those are cidre / calvados apple trees, the fruit is soley for making 'l'eau de vie'.
France Télécom's neither state owned nor a monopoly. It was privatised quite some time ago at this stage - you can check its stock quotes on the Euronext: FTE or NYSE : FTE. It's also the parent of Orange (large European Mobile operator)
As for monopoly status, it may be dominant, but it's no more a state owned monopoly than BT in the UK is.
FT may still own the copper infrastructure, but you've access to umpteen carrier preselect, wholesale DSL, unbundled providers etc etc. Same as in the UK, US or elsewhere.
Thanks Dave, sorry I was a bit confused there! The French Government still own about a third. The previous CEO just happened to get the job as Finance Minister after leaving FT, what a coincidence! They still have about 100,000 unsackable employees in France. Illegal Gummint subsidies have had to be paid back. I think I still have to use FT to supply my line rental @ 17E / month whover I'm "with". From what my friends tell me who have tried the competition, like 'Primus', this waters down any savings on calls. It still swims, looks and quacks like a duck from where I'm sitting!
It's possible to switch completely to another Telco for both calls and line rental here, and it's a near-impossible task trying to keep up with all the package offers as each one tries to outdo the others to get business:
"Free calls to The Outer Hebrides on Sundays!"
"Ah, but we offer free calls to Outer Mongolia every other Monday between 8 and 9 p.m. so long as there's a full moon....."
I do sometimes feel that I'm fighting a losing battle though trying to explain to people around here that no matter who they pay for their line rental it is still BT which owns and maintains the local loop, and that any physical line faults they report to "their" telco will just be forwarded to BT to deal with.
It's looking likely in Ireland now that eircom's going to sell its retail arm and recently acquired mobile arm (Meteor). The idea being, Babcock and Brown (The company that owns most of it) would retain the lucrative wholesale and infrastructure part as it would make it less of a complex regulatory scenario.
Many commentators think that this is preparing the ground for sneeky little change of infrastructure over to a next generation network that would squeeze out the competition.
i.e. a move to fiber-to-the-kerb architecture i.e. lots and lots of little cabinets at local level housing the line cards and subscriber equipment sitting on big fiber optic circuits. Everything based on IP and basically eliminating the need for local exchanges (central offices).
It would look a lot more like a cable company's network topology.
They're also rumoured to be considering cashing in on a lot of property i.e. the local exchanges in the major urban centres while the value of the property is still insanely high. So, it's a win-win situation for eircom and not necessarily all that good for competition..
A couple of weeks ago on a wet evening a car swung round a curve too quickly and demolished a pole a couple of miles from here. I know exactly when it happened as the police had the road blocked while the wreckage was cleared and I had to detour.
I saw the results going past next morning and was going to pick up my camera to get a couple of shots of the pieces of pole lying across the grass and the lines and junction boxes hanging gracefully from the trees.
Unlike France Telecom, though, BT was on the ball. It had all been repaired by the time I went by next afternoon, less than 48 hours since the accident.
Here's the new pole, freshly creosoted, everything refitted, and even some nice shiny new steps!