The ten rural French departments set to finally get high-speed internet

Internet speed (or the lack of it) is a serious problem for millions of people in France’s more isolated and rural areas. Here are the French departments that are set to get a much faster connection.

The ten rural French departments set to finally get high-speed internet
Photo: Andrew Lozovyi/Depositphotos

It may be hard to believe that in France – the world’s sixth richest country in terms of national net wealth – 20 percent of the population has slow or no internet access at all. 

An April 2019 survey found that 6.8 million people in France didn’t have “minimum quality access to the internet”, which according to the French government is anything above 8 megabytes per second.

Even more alarming is the fact that 10 percent of French internet users have to put up with speeds of less than 3 megabytes a second, most of whom live in the countryside or small towns.

This huge ‘digital divide’ between urban and rural France has been a constant source of frustration for many countryside dwellers, especially those who depend on the internet to make a living.


Fortunately, this digital inequality could soon change for 4.7 million people in rural France now that the French government has announced it will give ten departments €242million in public funds to speed up the installation of improved internet networks.

The chosen departments are the following:

– Somme (€ 36.2 million initially, €56.4 million total)
– Côte d'Or (€36.2 million initially, €47 million total)
– Orne (€ 30 million),
– Dordogne (€44.97 initially, €60 million total)
– Yonne (€14.25 million initially, € 22.13 million total)
– Nièvre (€23.43 million)
– Hérault (€17.01 million)
– Mayenne (€17.34 million initially, € 19.33 million total)
– Tarn-et-Garonne (€ 19.13 million)
– Gard (€ 3.08 million).

Map: The Local 

Previous government claims that they could supply all areas of rural France with high-speed internet by 2022 had been rejected by consumer groups, with a study suggesting l’Elysée would only be able to close the digital gap by 2029.

Now it seems that the French government’s promises of full digital coverage could come true sooner than expected with this latest cash injection.

According to a government press release, a further €140 million will be invested in other public internet projects in 2020.

The same document states that the French government succeeded in getting fibre optic internet to four million households in the last 12 months, taking the total number of homes with a high-speed connection to 21.6 million.

Member comments

  1. 62170 has had boards at start of each village saying fibre is coming……. been there since start of summer. Christmas looks like it’ll arrive first…

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French village inherits fortune from Austrian who fled Nazis

An Austrian man who fled the Nazis with his family during World War II has bequeathed a large part of his fortune to the French village whose residents hid them from persecution for years.

French village inherits fortune from Austrian who fled Nazis
The village of Chambon-sur-Lignon in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France. Photo: AFP

Eric Schwam, who died aged 90 on December 25th, wrote the surprise gift into his will for Chambon-sur-Lignon, located on a remote mountain plateau in the Auvergne area of southeast France that historically has a large Protestant community known for offering shelter to those in need.

“It's a large amount for the village,” Mayor Jean-Michel Eyraud told AFP.

He declined to specify the amount since the will was still being sorted out, but his predecessor, who told a local website that she met with Schwam and his wife twice to discuss the gift, said it was around two million euros.

Schwam and his family arrived in 1943 and were hidden in a school for the duration of the war, and remained until 1950.

He later studied pharmacy and married a Catholic woman from the region near Lyon, where they lived.

Eyraud said Schwam asked that the money be used for educational and youth initiatives, in particular scholarships.

Around 2,500 Jews were taken in and protected during World War II by Chambon-sur-Lignon, whose residents were honoured as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre.

Over the centuries the village has taken in a wide range of people fleeing religious or political persecution, from priests driven into hiding during the French Revolution to Spanish republicans during the civil war of the 1930s, and more recently migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa.