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Broadband Coverage in France

Thursday 15 March 2007

France has a higher level of broadband ADSL penetration than any other country in Europe, although it looks like the Government will fall short of its target of getting 100% coverage throughout France by 2007.

There are still nearly 4000 communes (out of a total of 36,000) unable to obtain broadband, and the French telecoms authority estimates that 1000 communes in rural areas will remain indefinitely outside of the loop because of their distance from the telecoms switching point.

In practice, access to a broadband line is not necessarily determined by the commune in which you live, but by your proximity to the local telecoms equipment, which bears no relation to administrative boundaries. Neighbours living within a few hundred metres of one another within the same commune may have different levels of access to the internet.

Nevertheless, the progress made by the French government and France Telecom over the past few years to develop ADSL access across the country has been a significant achievement. Within three years, France has moved from a position of laggard within Europe to be only second to Germany in terms of investment and penetration.

In those rural areas where France Telecom is unable to justify the installation of ADSL equipment, many regional and local councils are making a commitment to ensure everyone has access through partnership agreements with France Telecom or other providers.

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