You might think in 2017 that access to the internet a fundamental right but 7.5 million people in France are unable to get a high-speed connection, according to consumer group UFC Que Choisir. Some half a million have no internet at all.
A huge divide between France’s rural and urban areas was exposed by the research, which claims the government’s “High Speed France” project is failing miserably.
Only 1% of residents the Dordogne department of central France are able to access high-speed broadband compared to 90% of Parisians in the Haut-de-Seine department.
Other under-served departments of France were the department of Creuse in central France, and the Meuse department in the north east.
The map below reveals that departments in the south west of he country (those shaded dark red) are the worst off when it comes to access to internet.
— UFC-Que Choisir (@UFCquechoisir) 26 September 2017
By 2022, everyone in France should have been able to use the internet at a speed of three megabits a second or more, according to the government’s scheme announced in 2013.
But the consumer group estimates the scheme is at least 10 years behind its planned deadline and the target won’t be achieved until 2035 if work continues at the current rate.
UFC-Que Choisir said the government should “focus its finances on installing broadband networks in the areas which are lacking good quality internet”.
France is lagging behind other European countries, as 95% of Dutch residents have access to speeds of 4Mbps or more, with Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden achieving similar levels too.
The country's mobile internet speeds are equally dire, as one study put France in 31st place out of 87 countries around the world.
You can check the available internet speeds in your area on the France Très Haut Débit website.