Re: Fast connections
One big problem with FTTP is that it requres power at both ends of the connection. If normal phone service is delivered over it then the remote equipment needs to have built-in battery backup to deal with power outages, otherwise it won't meet the regulatory rules for service. That adds to the cost.
An alternative is to run the fibre in parallel with copper, but that adds cost for new installations, and you end up with a dual overlay network (one for voice, one for data) all the way to the home. That also adds to the cost.
All this talk of how important "superfast" broadband is also gets distorted by the fact that people like El Reg readers may care, but a large part of the population couldn't give a damn. My Mum was fine with 2Mbit/s capped at 2GB, and would have been perfectly happy with 512Kbit/s or even less. She was mostly OK with a 56K modem, except for the per-minute charging. For the large group of people that use the internet for email, Tesco online, and booking holidays, a low-speed flat-rate always-on service is all they need. They certainly won't want to pay more for "superfast" connections.
That may change, as on-demand video creeps in with DTT boxes, but to assume that everyone needs or wants 100Mbit/s low-contention network at home is simply wrong, and it is unreasonable to expect the cost to be shared out equally among all users. Those who want fast will have to be prepared to pay more for it.
China is a totalitarian state than can mandate what it likes (and I seriously doubt if such a mandate applies outside big cities anyway) but people in W. Europe prefer to have some say in where their tax money is spent.