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Getting fibre broadband at my French home complicated

I am keen to get fibre broadband as soon as possible but there seem to be obstacles in my way!  I am told Orange is installing fibre in my road but that I cannot get access using my existing supplier. A friend lives in an apartment and has been told she cannot use the company of her choice. It seems unnecessarily complicated – can you give some insight? I.F.

You can, in theory, subscribe to an offer from any ISP, regardless of the operator who has deployed the fibre in your building or in your neighbourhood.

In practice, it is a bit more complicated. This requires that the ISP you have chosen has done the engineering work necessary to connect your building to its fibre network, which is not always the case.

In addition, if your building is not “fibre” but “wired”, you can only subscribe to the offers of SFR, which is the owner of this network from Numericable.

Finally, some areas are “bundled” at the initiative of local authorities. Here you may have access to less known ISPs which, unlike Orange, Free, SFR and Bouygues, provide an internet service without having their own network.

The situation in apartment blocks  is a matter for the building’s Syndicat de Copropriété. Once a provider has been chosen, the whole of the building must use it.

This  may be a matter of concern restricted to cities, towns and other more urban areas, locations to benefit from the investment in fibre networks.

However, most rural areas will not be able to access this new service, leaving those with slow broadband frustrated.

Approximately 95% of homes can access the “dégroupage total” broadband service, where calls go over their broadband.

Those with a slower service have not been able to order a separate line and broadband since late 2018 and are now offered an alternative of a 4G connection.


Question answered by Bob Elliott from the telephone and broadband provider, UK Telecom. See for more information on their services in France. If you have a query on this topic send it to

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