Broadband in France

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Satellite broadband and calls in France are now better than ever, says Bob Elliott, and the fast connection speeds and affordable prices are ideal for owners of second homes

When it comes to waiting and queuing, the Brits are renowned the world over for our patience. But when you think about it, part of that (resigned) acceptance is because everyone else is moving at the same speed. Of course there are those who are not averse to a bit of queue-jumping here and there, but on the whole, where we see a queue we join the end of it.

GATHERING SPEED

Now when it comes to internet connection, many people have found themselves queue-jumping unintentionally, as broadband speeds in France can vary considerably. While family, friends and neighbours are enjoying a fast and reliable internet connection, you might find yourself watching that timer rotate endlessly on the screen, your patience wearing increasingly thin with each turn.

Compared to the UK, huge numbers of homes in France either have no access to broadband or only a very slow-speed service. However, two years ago the latest generation of satellite broadband introduced made a significant difference. Recently prices have fallen and new services have been added, making this a good option for many more people.

FALLING PRICES

The prices for hardware and installation have fallen to a few hundred euros and there is even a rental option. New satellite offers include unlimited monthly data packages for the first time ever. There is even a home and business package with a 20Mbps speed for just €29.99 a month.

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Reliable broadband at this speed gives so many benefits:

• fast internet browsing

• high quality telephone calling

• real-time access to music and internet radio

• UK television channels over the internet

• High-Definition movies and streaming media

This high-speed service also allows you to do away with a normal telephone line and instead route all of your calls through your satellite service. The cost of line rental was increased last month, so you would save more than €202 a year and you can even keep the same telephone number.

You do need a separate modem or combined modem and phone, which is truly a ‘plug in and use’ piece of equipment, to start saving money though.

Your computer does not have to be on to make calls. Even more attractive is that the unlimited call package is portable, so wherever you are, as long as you can plug your phone into a broadband modem it will work as if it is in your French home. This is an ideal option for owners of second homes. You’ll never miss a call or a message again, and you can make free calls within your package while you are away. With no international roaming charges and cheap calls outside of your package, this is a good option for both second-homeowners and travellers alike.

further benefits for homeowners

In the past, one big frustration was that there was no fast broadband service that can be suspended when you were away. Now, whether you are in France permanently or there as an occasional visitor to your maison sécondaire, this is an option. Costs start from just €34.99 and there is also no fixed contract length.

There are two million people around the world using satellite broadband, and thousands in France using this advanced and most powerful satellite in Europe. It is constantly being developed. Earlier this year the download speed was doubled to 20Mbps and the upload speed of 6Mbps, with choice of unlimited data packages, has meant that it is no longer only an option for those on a higher income.

ACCESS AND RELIABILITY

The top speed of 20Mbps is available anywhere in France and installation takes about two weeks, making it quicker to install than a new line and broadband. Once in place it is more reliable than the traditional telephone line service as those are more prone to physical damage and corrosion, while all your service needs is a clear line of sight between your dish and the satellite itself.

Bob Elliott is Commercial Director at UKtelecom

www.uktelecom.net

Go online for your free copy of ‘The English Speaker’s Guide to the French Telecom Market’