Paris has 90% high-speed internet… Dordogne just 1%

Backlit French Azerty keyboard of black keys
Braodband access is severely limited in large parts of the country

Report highlights digital divide as one in two people has very fast access but 500,000 have nothing at all

While 90% of people in Paris have access to very high-speed internet (more than 100Mbit/s), just 1% of those in Dordogne or Creuse have the same and a report just out says the gap between the well-served and poorly-served is getting wider.

In all, the report showed that 11.1% of people in France – 7.5million people – could not get internet at a decent speed and 500,000 had no internet access whatsoever.

And while two-thirds of those living in communes of under 1,000 residents could get reasonable internet access (of above 3 megabits per second) in other areas this rose to 86.8%.

France is trailing Europe where 90% of UK consumers have access to possible speeds higher than 30 megabits per second and 80% in Germany – the European average is 70.9%.

On top of this, consumers were having to pay out more for their internet access as speeds improved, with fibre optic costs on average 33% higher than ADSL.

The report, by consumer champion UFC Que Choisir, said government policies of improving on existing ADSL services with fibre optic and cable access were only widening the digital divide. You check the coverage in your area on the France THD website.

Government plans to have very high-speed internet (which it defines as at least eight megabits per second) for 100% of the population, and 80% on FttH direct fibre optic links, by 2022 were hopelessly optimistic.

While it was uncertain that the key aim of 100% coverage could be achieved as just short of one in two people has très haut debit at present, it said the second part, on FttH coverage, could not be attained until 2035.

Que Choisir said the FttH roll-out by telecoms operators and local authorities was not being done quickly enough for the 2022 target and could not be achieved until 2035 at the present rate.

Meanwhile, the government has hinted that it may be prepared to make financial concessions to telecoms operators to allow more 4G access to be used to provide high-speed broadband in poorly-served areas.

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