Since 2018 Orange, the owner of the national telephone market, has been managing very substantial investment to bring high speed broadband to many more addresses. The investment is planned to complete in 2022 but many believe it will not conclude until later.


Driven by the commercial and domestic needs of the country that were not being met and were damaging both businesses and private lives the program was concentrated on bringing high speed broadband to major cities and towns first, followed by more urban areas and last of all rural communities. This has meant that there had to be a complete re-equipping of the equipment in most telephone exchanges.  Much of the equipment was more than 30 years old and simply not appropriate for upgrading.


Starting with universities, hospitals and government offices in large cities, and then rolled out to domestic customers, the new equipment enabled fibre broadband to be widely available. The one big difference between the fibre service and that offered by BT in the UK known as ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’ is where the fibre cable terminates at the nearest green roadside cabinet to the customers property and the last part of the service uses old copper wires, in France it is brought to the home.  Whilst this makes the service faster and more reliable it is not practical to deliver it to remote properties as the payment for the service will never cover the cost of installation.



With much of the city population now able to access fibre it is being taken to urban areas. Whilst the existing ‘Degroupage Total’ service where their broadband carries their telephone calls, removing the need for a line rental payment remains available.


For those in more rural areas the problem is very different.  Whilst all those who already use the ‘Degroupage Partiel’ service where speed are much slower because of the distance between the property and the local exchange will continue, new subscriptions to this service are not possible since November 2018 since Orange has ceased selling analogue lines. The replacement involves linking the customer’s broadband to the network using a link with the mobile network. Known as a 4G service, it will reach most rural areas.  For those who cannot be connected by this service they will have to use a satellite broadband alternative.


In today’s internet connected world where access to a good broadband speed can make a big difference to the value of a property, finding the speed available and the types of services that can be subscribed to is a more important aspect of a property search than at any previous time.


UKTelecom offers all prospective customers a free speed broadband test on any property they are considering buying while they wait on the telephone.  In addition to the speed that is currently available, customers can also be advised of any plans not available to the public for an immediate upgrade to the service as this may influence a decision to go ahead with a purchase or not.

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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