Paris to invest millions to bring high-speed internet to rural France

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that €100 million has been set aside to make high-speed internet available to households in the most isolated parts of the country by 2022.

Paris to invest millions to bring high-speed internet to rural France
Marcello Graciolli, Flickr
At the moment 7.5 million people in France are unable to get a high-speed connection, according to consumer group UFC Que Choisir.
And some half a million have no internet at all.
But the government, intent on making this a thing of the past with the “High Speed France” project, has announced that €100 million has been earmarked to make sure that by 2022 even households in the most rural areas have access to broadband.
The government plans to make “good internet access” available to the whole country by 2020 and very high-speed access by 2022, meaning a speed of three megabits a second or more, according to a government scheme announced in 2013.
French president Emmanuel Macron said to the Senate this summer that he wanted to bring the deadline forward to 2020. 
However a survey by French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir published in September revealed a huge divide between France's rural and urban areas and claimed the government's “High Speed France” project was failing miserably.
It estimated 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. 
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. 
You can check the available internet speeds in your area on the France Très Haut Débit website.



France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier