€300 grant for internet available to millions more French homes

The state grant is to fit a satellite internet connection

Anyone without access to the fibre network will be eligible for €300 (€600 in some cases) in state aid for a satellite connection
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Millions more people without access to a fibre internet connection are to become eligible for a €300 state grant to fit a satellite dish on their homes in 2024.

Currently 84% of French households have access to fibre broadband, however, seven million are still without high-speed internet.

Many people in rural areas are already eligible for the state grant to fit a satellite dish on their homes.

However, speaking to La Tribune Dimanche, minister delegate for Digital connectivity, Jean-Noël Barrot announced that more households will be eligible in 2024.

“Will will extend the grant of up to €300, or €600 for people with low income, to install a satellite dish to all people in France, and the seven million homes not yet eligible for a fibre connection,” he said.

It typically costs around €300 to fit a satellite dish, however people usually have to pay a monthly fee to rent it on top of their monthly internet bill, which is slightly higher than for a standard fibre connection.

Around 142,000 people in rural areas have already benefited from the grant.

Mr Barrot called France’s fibre network rollout “one of the greatest industrial successes of the past years”.

“Thanks to the rollout of the fibre network and other technologies, high speed internet is available to 100% of French households. The target we set 10 years ago has been met, without going over budget or deadline.”

The state has earmarked a €20m fund for the programme.

People who wish to apply can do so on the website of the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires (ANCT).

Is France’s fibre network still expanding?

Mr Barrot’s remarks on the success of France’s fibre network may come as a surprise to the millions of people who live in areas where the connection is still lacking or unreliable.

In March 2023, the French telecommunications watchdog Afutt said it received seven times more complaints about fibre than for mobile networks in 2022, even though the latter had more customers.

In its report, Afutt said, “questions of quality and sustainability of fibre optic networks are becoming increasingly obvious and insistent”.

“[Complaints show that more] installation defects are revealed, malfunctions are multiplying,” the report added.”

France’s fibre rollout has been delegated in large part to private companies, which often subcontract individual connections to local companies, to varying results.

In November 2023, Orange was handed a record €26m fine for its failure to complete the fibre rollout on schedule.

However, despite Mr Barrot declaring victory, the fibre rollout is still ongoing, with Orange saying it will connect an additional 1.5m households by the end of 2024.

The government regulator managing the rollout, Arcep, aims to complete the network by 2025, however, it admits that this is not a hard deadline.

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