Om Malik points to an article in French that discuss how Free.fr, the world's leading multiple play provider based in France is now quickly moving into wireless mesh networks with its new Freebox HD set-top box/wiifi offering. To understand the quantitative advantages of wireless mesh networks, see this presentation from Dave Beyer from 2002 that explains how mesh coverage has the interesting property of increasing coverage and capacity as the more subscribers are added (since the subscribers are part of the routing infrastructure).
Free recently announced the delivery of their 300,000 Freebox HD, which they say creates a wi-fi mesh network that allowing their new wi-fi based phones to roam.
Olivier Gutknecht reported on some of this in English back in April 2006.
Free is also going to do a rollout of FTTH to every home in Paris which they say they will unbundle to competitors.
They also now have a national WiMax license acquired through the acquisition by their parent company, Iliad, of Altitude Telecom.
This recent presentation on Iliad's mid-2006 results provides a good overview of their strategic direction and their financials. What is next?