Found your ideal French property – the next steps to get the best broadband


You may already know from the property details if there is access to a broadband service, so an important part of the property’s desirability has been satisfied. Should the speed be slow there is a possibility that this will improve as part of the investment in the national network mentioned in the first guide in this short series. Your preferred broadband supplier will have information on immediate local upgrades, so ask them if any are planned for your location.



If the broadband speed is very slow and you want to know what the prospects are for any improvement longer term it is advisable to visit your Mairie as they will have more detailed local knowledge of forthcoming investment in the network. But don’t despair! There are always other things you can do to squeeze the best out of even very limited broadband.

You may also be looking at mobile services. There is another site that will enable you to compare the coverage between the various companies. One of the differences between the UK and France is that the former has a height restriction on mobile masts of 25m whereas in France it is 50m, giving a wider coverage per mast. Bigger masts also allow more equipment onto the masts so choice should be better than in the UK. Having said that the estimated 99% of the population covered by these masts will not be enough to serve all those living in a rural area. Use this web site to check the services available:


No telephone line into the property

If there has never been a telephone line into the property there are some things you will have to do before the engineers will start their work:

  1. Dig a trench from your boundary to your property (if a large job local builders will do this)
  2. Drill a hole in the wall to allow the telephone cable to enter
  3. Arrange for an electrician to install your telephone sockets

An Orange guide fully detailing the work you need to do is available on the UKTelecom website here.

On the inside of the property the engineers will only install the DTI box, but not telephone sockets. Whilst the task of wiring up the sockets needed is within the scope of a competent DIY person most choose to use a qualified electrician to do this. Remember that if the service stops working due to problems with your internal cabling this will be your responsibility to get it repaired.

Where a telephone line has been previously installed and active within the last two years it can be activated remotely. Otherwise an engineer will have to visit your property and make the necessary arrangements to get your service live. This is likely to take up to 10 working days and there is an activation cost.

UKTelecom offers a management installation service for the installation of telephone services. Customers find this most helpful as at this time they are often very busy, don’t have all the technical knowledge or technical French that is sometimes required when speaking with the engineers. We handle all aspects from guiding the engineer to customers’ properties through to the activation of their broadband.


Choosing the best telecom company for your needs

We all use the service for different reasons. For example, if you live permanently in France you will be less interested in having a broadband service that you can suspend. Approximately 75% of our customers fall into this group. If like the remaining 25% of customers you have a holiday home you are likely to want to be able to suspend it when not in use. If you rent your holiday home out you may want a company that provides additional support to your guests but if your stays are limited to just a few months in the year you will want to consider one of the services designed for short periods of engagement. As it will be a much more limited number of readers that will be interested in renting properties we have separated it from the general information and more can be found in the last of these short guides. If you are in this last group go straight to our last guide ‘A Special Free Service for Holiday Home Owners’. For others the following advice will help get a permanent service set up right first time!


Essential tips

There are a small number of essential things you should do when placing your order for a new line service.

  1. The first thing to remember if there is an existing working line at the property is that the previous owner’s number will be discontinued and you as a new customer will be given a new number. So, don’t give the old number to others as it simple will not work once you have taken over the line!
  2. The next, and often overlooked, is that should you want to be ex-directory, as many do to avoid unwanted sales and other calls, is to request this when ordering the line. It is known as ‘liste rouge’ and is free. If not done at this time your details will appear in the paper and online directories and it will take long time before unwanted calls ease.
  3. There is another free service that you can subscribe to, known as ‘bloctel’ it places you on a list of people that do not wish to receive marketing calls and companies engaged in this work have to respect the wishes of those listed. You can sign up on line once you have your new number. Visit:
  4. You can also ask for other line services to be applied including, number or name of caller display (not both), call waiting and answerphone. Some are free and others have a small monthly charge. Your telecom company can advise.


Installation costs and lead times

Line Activation



No previous owner

Technician visit required, appointments are dependent on Orange technicians’ availability

55€ Management fee

59€ Technician visit to property and local exchange

35€ Broadband connection fee

Previous owner

Remote activation can take up to 10 working days. The technician will only need to visit the local exchange.

55€ Management fee

59€ Technician visit to property and local exchange

35€ Broadband connection fee


Remote activation can take up to 10 working days. The technician will only need to visit the local exchange.

55€ Management fee

59€ Technician visit to property and local exchange

35€ Broadband connection fee


Bob Elliott is the Commercial Director at UKTelecom. He’s an expert in telephone networks and broadband and knows how to get the best from any service.

Tel: France (free): 0805 631632 – UK: +44 (0) 1483 477100

[email protected]

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