Does High Tech Require High Fiber?

Illustration for TIME by MARK MATCHO

According to the prevailing wisdom, broadband customers don't want to know about the technology that lies underneath the cornucopia of phone, TV and Internet services they enjoy — they just want it to work well and be affordably priced. Don't tell that to Frédéric Roy, who's excited about FTTH, an inelegant tech acronym that stands for "fiber to the home."

Roy, who lives in Paris, applauded when Free, the Paris-based broadband provider and subsidiary of French telecom firm Iliad, announced last month that it will spend €1 billion to run high-speed fiber-optic lines to 4 million French...

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