In a series about setting up internet access via satellite rather than through a conventional phone line, we look at the cost comparison between the two services and the pros and the cons to setting up satellite broadband in France.
Satellite Broadband in France – how to make sure you buy only what you need
To get a normal phone line and broadband service you should expect to pay between 55€ for a remote activation, which will take 7 days, and 124€ if an engineer is required to visit the property – this can take two to three weeks. It will take a further 10 days for the broadband service to go live and the cost will include the activation charge of between 25€ and 30€ and a deposit or rental of a modem (2015).
If there is not and has not previously been a line into the property, the costs can mount depending on circumstances. If there is a telephone pole nearby the cost will be 124€ but you will have to dig a trench from your boundary to your property and drill an access hole in your outside wall for the cable. Orange will only include one telephone point as part of the installation and any more points need to be added by an electrician – or a competent DIYer.
However, if there is no pole nearby, you will be expected to pay for one (or more) and they typically cost 500€ each. In addition if the route has to go over private land the owner may not agree, making this option unavailable – and it may surprise you when we tell you that this is not as uncommon as you think.
So if you live in a rural area, you may have to pay charges to get your phone line broadband set up. Then it is possible that you may discover that the broadband speed is horribly slow and in the worst case, not possible if the distance between the exchange and your home is wide. The typical maximum distance between a property and the local exchange that can support broadband is 5km.
For these reasons (and several more) more people are turning to satellite and it is a trend that has been increasing for some time.
More points in favour of growing satellite phone demand include:
1. The monthly costs are coming down,
2. There are rental options so the higher installation costs can be reduced
3. You can have a telephone service with no line rental costs and cheaper calls.
There is also an added bonus of a quicker installation that takes just 5 and 10 days.
The cost of satellite services in France
A satellite installation has two main costs:
1. Hardware – this can be purchased outright or rented.
2. Installation cost. You can choose to install it yourself or have a professional installation. Using a self install kit and videos available on YouTube means that a competent DIY person can manage without difficulty. Many customers ask for an English speaking engineer, which can also be arranged.
What about the drawbacks or differences?
The biggest difference between ordinary and satellite broadband is that the former allows for a generally unlimited download service whilst satellite services come with specific data download allowances.
The more you pay the bigger the allowance, so it is best to accurately estimate how much you will need. If you exceed your allowance you will not be cut off but the speed of your service will drop dramatically. If that happens you can buy a ‘booster token’ that will give you a further allowance that will be credited to your account. It is not time limited and will remain available until used. If you think that you will frequently need more than your agreement provides you can always upgrade. Upgrading is free (note there is a charge for reducing your allowance).