Millions must switch to fibre as landlines phased out in France

People in hundreds of communes have a year to change to fibre, mobile or satellite connection

Landlines are being phased out and replaced by fibre, 4G, 5G and satellite connections
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Millions of homes must switch to a fibre internet connection as landlines based on copper wires begin to be phased out in hundreds of communes from January 31.

Those who still use landlines have a year to switch to a fibre, mobile or satellite connection.

Four out of ten people in France still use landline connections for both telephone calls and the internet, via an ADSL hub plugged into telephone sockets, according to French telecoms watchdog Arcep.

This is considered to be inferior to fibre optic connections which can offer much higher internet speeds.

Under the government’s Plan Très Haut Debit fibre connections should be made available to all homes by 2025. Extremely isolated homes qualify for a €300 grant to fit a satellite internet connection.

What changed on January 31?

In addition to no longer offering new landline connections in certain areas, Orange, which manages the network, has begun informing households in these areas that they must switch to another offer.

Initially, this will affect 200,000 households in 162 communes across 21 departments, which will have one year from January 31 to choose either a fibre, 4G or 5G mobile or satellite connection for telephone and internet.

From January 31, 2025, Orange will deactivate these landlines and proceed to dismantle them.

Anyone who has not switched to another connection will no longer have phone / internet access.

A map of the scheduled landline deactivations is available here.

In the following years, the process will accelerate, with 2.5 million landline connections set to be dismantled in 2026 and 10 million each subsequent year. The old system is scheduled to be completely discontinued in 2030.

You can see if your commune is affected this year at the official government website here.

‘Customers will have solutions’

“The plan was made in agreement with the local authorities, the government, elected officials and operators on a national level,” Bénédicte Javelot, the head of strategic planning at Orange France, told BFMTV.

“Every step was planned to ensure that customers would be given solutions at the time of both the planned commercial discontinuation as well as the deactivation of their landlines.”

The price of a fibre connection can be higher than a landline connection, however this is not the case with all operators.

Most operators offer fibre connections for around €35 a month, while 4G boxes are available for around €30 a month.

However, the fibre rollout has been criticised for patchy coverage and ‘service interruptions’ which can leave entire communes cut off for days at a time.

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