Everything You Want to Know About France and More...

Setting up the internet in France

Man working at a lap top computer at the edge of a river in France

To get Broadband internet set up in France, you may to have a France Telecom (Orange) line installed. Regardless of whether you want to use another provider for internet services you’ll still need to have a France Telecom line.

Your UK PC, laptop or Mac will work in France as will your English keyboard. And you can install French software/hardware onto your UK computer. French keyboards are different from the QWERTYUP layout on an English keyboard. The French one needs some getting used to although it does have accented letters on it which you may find useful if you use them a lot. If not you can find accented letters in the Symbols button in the taskbar.

Internet service from France Telecom

We’d like to say that getting the internet set up in France is easy but it isn’t always the case but some providers do have an English speaking helpline. Orange’s English speaking helpline telephone number from France is:  09 69 36 39 00. They are available from 09.00 – 17.00 but closed between 12.00-13.00 Monday to Friday.

Internet access in France

Make sure that you protect your internet access in France against electrical surges. Depending on where you live your electrical goods may be at risk from strikes by electrical storms, power surges caused by power cuts and other untoward happenings. This is well known in parts of Southern France. And it’s certainly the case in Northern France where power surges are quite common. You can avoid the problems this may cause by fitting a power surge protector for your PC, TV and other important equipment that can be affected. You can buy surge protectors easily in French supermarkets or DIY stores. Look for “protection anti-foudre”.

Internet speed in France

Although France Telecom is continuing to work on improving internet access across France, some rural areas have a much slower rate of operation in comparison with more populated areas. Some isolated properties may not have internet access at all. So if it’s critical to you or you need it for work it’s worth checking before buying a property that the internet access is there. And also how good it is and whether it can be improved. Fibre optic internet access is being rolled out across France. Local town halls will have all the details for when it is to be progressed. Note: If you upgrade to fibre optic, hold on to your old live box, you may be asked to send it by post for recycling and there is a fee to pay if you don’t.

Dial up Internet access in France

If you don’t have Broadband access in your area but you have a telephone line, you can use the slower form of Dial Up. There are two ways to access the internet with Dial up: Access Libre is without a contract and charges for each minute of use. Or you can take out a contract for a set number of hours per month. This is incredibly expensive if you go over the set hours so make sure you check this out carefully. You may also be able to access the internet via a satellite provider.

Dégroupage (unbundling)

Dégroupage means to separate the Internet line from the fixed line telephone supply i.e. internet access independently from France Telecom. Each independent supplier will have different packages. To find out if an area is “dégroupé” the French website Degroup Test offers a free and independent service: Click here www.degrouptest.com.

Internet Service from other providers in France

There are many French providers of internet (as well as phone and TV) services including electronic retailer Darty www.dartybox.com and Neuf Telecom (which is one of the largest alternatives to France Telecom) and adsl.sfr.fr.

What to do when you have problems with your Internet access in France

Internet access problems can be at best frustrating and at worst costly. If you have an issue with connection where it has already been working fine first, check your router to make sure the internet connection or service is still working. Make sure the ADSL light is on. If it’s flashing this may indicate an issue with connection (also if the light is not green). In the event that rebooting doesn’t resolve the issue, call your internet provider for help. They should be able to test the line. If you have a Live Box internet connection with Orange France and it is faulty, you’ll need to take it to your nearest Orange shop and swap it (if it is still within the 12 month warranty period) or buy a new one.

For more information on setting up a telephone in France.

For more information on mobiles in France.

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