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€150 aid to access higher-speed internet available in France

Home-owners and tenants in certain communes can now get a one-off payment of up to €150 to improve access to high-speed broadband

Home-owners and tenants can now get a one-off payment of up to €150 to improve access to high-speed broadband in communes which do not yet benefit from a fibre-optic connection and are unlikely to do so in the near future.

This grant is available to 28,000 mainly rural communes or small towns and could potentially benefit around four million households or businesses.

Introduced in 2019, the scheme now covers communes where all, or just a part, of it is not linked up to a download speed of at least 8 megabits/second via either fibre optics, the telephone network or cable.

The deadline for applications for the payment is December 31, 2021.

The alternative wireless systems proposed are via a high-speed 4G connection to your home, a network of local radio aerials, or a satellite link via a dish.

The grant is to help pay for the equipment, installation or putting a new system into service.

You can find out if this grant is available to you by going to the dedicated website and entering your commune or department.

If you are eligible, a list of providers in your area will appear, which you can contact to decide the best solution for you.

The next step is to apply directly to one of the 17 approved operators in France: Orange, Nordnet, Big Blu (formerly Europasat), Bouygues Telecom, Alsatis, Numerisat, Xilan, Weaccess, SFR, SRR, Outremer Telecom, Ozone, Caribsat, Dauphin Telecom, Apinet, STOI and SPLANG.

Caroline Xu, deputy director of the green think-tank Numérique Responsable, said the amount of the grant would depend on the type of equipment recommended and installation costs.

That decision is up to the operator, which will then inform the customer of costs and deduct the grant from the bill for the chosen system. The original aim was to give everyone access to a bon haut débit, ie. broadband of a minimum of 8 Megabits per second, by 2020.

There are still an estimated four million premises without access to this speed of internet service, which the government hopes to solve with this grant.

The plan is to make sure that everyone will have très haut débit (high speed broadband of at least 30 Megabits per second) by 2022, while fibre optic services should be present across the country by 2025.

Coronavirus has shown that good internet services for everyone are more important than ever before, the government has said, because it makes home-working and study easier and developing digital businesses.

In January, an extra €570million was promised to increase the introduction of the fibre-optics network in areas which do not yet have it.

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