Most FTTH projects, whether they are private or public, are based on commercial principles. While it has been recognised that the biggest digital divide may not ultimately be between urban and rural but between those who can connect to the internet and those who can't, little has been done – or even theorised – to solve that particular issue.
A group of 4 municipalities in the North of France near Dunkerque, have decided to address this issue. These towns represent 60.000 inhabitants and by 2012, the Syndicate that they fund to ensure digital TV distribution (SIVU) aims to have deployed FTTH to each and every home.
The amount of funding is considerable (22 million EUR), but the interesting aspect of what would otherwise be just another muni-fiber project is that every home will get a basic (512kb/s) internet service for free, with higher bandwidths available as paying offers, of course. Very interesting initiative. This would make a great socio-economic project on the impact of internet access on disenfranchised populations. Wish I was a scholar!
You can find more information (in French) in this article by La Voix du Nord: Le SIVU offrira en 2012 l'Internet Gratuit dans chanque foyer grâce à la Fibre Optique.