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The End of Fixed Telephone Line in France

Thursday 06 September 2018

Orange Telecom have announced the prospective end of fixed telephone lines as they move towards a completely digital network.

Specifically, Orange have stated that from November they will no longer be offering new fixed line analogue subscriptions, a service which does not provide an internet connection.

Behind the announcement are the increasing difficulties and costs associated with maintenance of the analogue system, and the growth of the digital and mobile network.

The existing 9 million household subscribers with a fixed line will continue with their line after this date, but from 2023 through to 2030 these households will all be transferred over to a digital service.

The plan is that whole communes will be transferred over on a progressive basis, although a programme has not yet been announced.

All that will happen is a change of technology, with a router installed in the property, through which calls will be made over the internet, called VoIP.

There will be no need to replace the telephone already installed, and neither will it be necessary to take out an internet subscription. The telephone number will also remain unchanged.

It is to be assumed that by 2023 Orange will have a complete ADSL/VDSL/fibre optic service in place, but where this is not the case then the telephone will be routed via satellite or 4G/5G.

Orange have stated that the basic tariff of €18 that applies will remain unchanged in order to "proposer un service de téléphonie abordable et pour tous", subject to any normal inflationary increases that occur.

What remains unclear is whether households will need to pay a single or monthly charge for the router, or whether it will be provided free of charge. Currently the monthly charge is around €3.

Orange have already undertaken an experiment on making the change in Brittany, the results of which persuaded them that it could now be rolled out on a national basis.

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