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High speed internet still a rarity for many living in rural France

A new survey has revealed the gaping inequality across France when it comes to access to high speed internet. In short if you want a speedy web it's best to avoid the Dordogne.

High speed internet still a rarity for many living in rural France
Marcello Graciolli, Flickr

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.

 

 

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. 

French president Emmanuel Macron said to the Senate this summer that he wanted to bring the deadline forward to 2020

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.

TECHNOLOGY

French watchdog fines Google and Amazon subsidiary €135m for unauthorised cookies

France's CNIL data privacy watchdog said on Thursday it had fined two Google units a total of €100 million and an Amazon subsidiary €35 million over advertising cookies.

French watchdog fines Google and Amazon subsidiary €135m for unauthorised cookies
Photo: AFP

The regulator said the fines were “for having placed advertising cookies on the computers of users … without obtaining prior consent and without providing adequate information.”

A cookie is a small piece of data stored on a user's computer browser that allows websites to identify users and remember their previous activity.

The CNIL said when a user visited the website google.fr, several cookies used for advertising purposes were automatically placed on his or her computer, without any action required on the user's part.

It said a similar thing happened when visiting one page on the amazon.fr website.

CNIL said this type of cookie “can only be placed after the user has expressed his or her consent” and thus violated regulations on receiving prior consent.

It faulted Google for providing insufficient privacy information for users as it did not let them know about the cookies which had been placed and that the procedure to block them still left one operational.

CNIL also said Amazon had not provided clear or complete information about the cookies it placed on computers of users until a redesign in September 2020.

Google also stopped placing cookies on the computers of users without consent in September, CNIL said, but added it still does not provide a sufficient explanation for their use.

The regulator said “no matter what path the users used to visit the website, they were either insufficiently informed or never informed of the fact that cookies were placed on their computer.”

The €35 million fine is on the Amazon Europe Core subsidiary.

CNIL imposed fines of €60 million on Google LLC and €40 million on Google Ireland Limited.

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