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PROPERTY

MAP: When will my part of rural France get high-speed internet?

The French government wants to ensure that the entire country has access to high-speed internet by 2025 - so here's how you can check when it's scheduled to come to your part of France.

A technician connects fibre optic cables to a building in France.
A technician connects fibre optic cables to a building in France. There is an interactive tool to see when these cables will be installed in your area. (Photo by BERTRAND LANGLOIS / AFP)

France claims to have the widest high-speed internet coverage of any country in Europe. 

Two thirds of French households currently have access to high-speed internet. The government wants to ensure than 80 percent of French households will have access by the end of 2022 and that the entire country is covered by 2025. 

READ MORE Is France’s plan for nationwide high-speed internet by 2025 on track?

But many people living in the French countryside have frustratingly slow internet connection. This is because not enough fibre optic cables have been installed in a number of rural areas. 

The installation of fibre optic cables, which can send information at 70 percent the speed of light, is essential for high speed internet – unless you are using 4G (mobile internet supplied through a cellular network). 

Currently, there are significant regional differences in which these fibre optic cables have been installed as the map below demonstrates. 

A map shows how much access different French départements have to fibre optic connection. The darker the green, the faster the internet. Source: Agence Nationale de Cohésion des Territoires

The dark green areas, including Paris, have excellent fibre optic coverage while lighter green areas, mostly scattered around rural areas of the country do not. 

When will I get access to high-speed internet?

Fortunately, there is a useful tool to see when fibre optic cables will be installed near you. 

France’s electronic communications regulator, ARCEP, have made an interactive map which allows you to check whether the installation of cable in your area is complete, began in 2021, or the year when it is set to begin.

When using the map, you can should click on the “Modes de vue” box on the right hand side. Then click “Avancé” and select “Vue prévisionnelle des déploiements fibre.”

This is the setting you should select to see when fibre optic cables will be installed in your area. Credit: ARCEP

Once you have done this, there is a box on the top left hand corner of the screen that you can use to search your address. 

On the right hand side of the screen, there is a key which tells you what how the different colours on the map correspond to the planned fibre installation date. 

Don’t get too excited if your installation date is imminent though – installation itself typically take 12-18 months, according to ARCEP. 

If you scroll on your computer, you can zoom with great detail on individual communes, although street names are not listed. 

Parts of map which are shaded in light blue or are not shaded at all are areas where data on fibre optic installation is still being compiled or is otherwise nonexistant. 

The map reveals that extensive work is planned over the next couple of years – which will likely come as welcome news to many of you living in the countryside. 

Member comments

  1. While it is most advantag eous to have good speed for business, it would also be good if for the actual business’s to make sure there own systems worked properly, it is so annoying when web sites can’t give info or take orders in a reasonable way & time. The only site that works well is amazon, never a problem.

  2. We’ve had fibre in our village for nearly a year now, but the operators won’t connect to our row of houses because there’s no manhole outside………
    We’re using a 4g+ router giving around 70mbs for the time being, otherwise we’ll have to pay the several thousand € cost to install, pah…..

  3. If it’s anything like the roll-out of mains drains which we were promised 25 years ago, I’m not holding my breath

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TRAVEL

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

Ever seen those drivers who avoid the queues at toll booths and driving straight through? Here's how they do it.

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

If you’re driving on French autoroutes one of the things you need to know is that they are not free – you will have to pay regular tolls, payable at toll booths known as péage.

Usually, drivers pick up a ticket from a booth at the start of their journey, then pay the required amount at a booth at the end of it – or when they move onto a different section of autoroute – based on the distance they have travelled.

But the toll booths themselves can be busy, especially during the summer, and long queues sometimes build up.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

This is where automated pay systems – known as télépéage – come in, especially for those who use the motorway network regularly.

As well as allowing you to pass straight through péages without stopping for payment, it’s also very useful for owners of right-hand drive vehicles, who may otherwise find that they’re sitting on the wrong side for easy and speedy payment.

Here’s how it works

Order your télépéage badge online

Click on the Bip&Go website here and follow the instructions to order a scannable personalised device (up to a maximum of two per account for private users). You will need to set up an account to arrange electronic payment of charges.

The website is available in English, French, German or Dutch.

You will need to supply bank details (IBAN number), address (for delivery), mobile phone number (to activate your account) and the vehicle’s registration details.

Your badge will be dispatched to your address within 48 hours from the opening of your online account. You can have the device sent to addresses outside France, but allow longer for it to arrive. 

If you’re in France, you can also pick up the device at one of Bip&Go’s stores, if you prefer – you will need need your bank details, proof of identity and a mobile phone.

Attach your badge 

Place your device on on the windscreen to the right of the rearview mirror. It is activated and ready to go. Then, simply, drive.

At the péage

All toll booths are equipped with the sensors that recognise that the vehicle is carrying the necessary device. At most, you will have to stop briefly for the device to be recognised and the barrier to lift.

You will also be able to drive through certain booth areas without stopping. These are indicated by an orange t symbol on the overhead signs. The maximum speed you can pass through these booths is 30kph.

Payments

Payments are processed automatically. You can monitor the amounts you have to pay on an app.

Do I need separate badges for motorway networks run by different companies?

No. The badge allows holders to travel on the entire French motorway network, no matter which company manages the motorway, and you can also use it to cross a number of toll structures in France such as the Millau Viaduct, the Tancarville Bridge or the Normandie Bridge, and pay to park in more than 450 car parks. 

Is it only valid in France?

No, with certain packages, you can also as easily travel on motorways in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and use a number of compatible car parks. You can even use them on Italian ferries.

Okay, but how much does it cost?

Subscriptions to the Bip&Go service depend on what type of service you want. A fixed price rolling subscription is €16 a year – plus toll charges – but assumes you’re a regular user of French motorways. 

A pay-as-you-go subscription is €1.70 for every month the badge is in use – plus toll charges – and carries a €10 additional fee if the badge is not used in a 12-month period.

How much are the toll charges?

They depend on the road you’re on, how far you travel along it, and the vehicle you’re driving.

Heading from Toulouse to Biarritz along the A64 will cost a total €23 in fees for a private car and if you’re driving all the way from Calais down to the Mediterranean coast expect to pay around €70 once you add up the various tolls along the way.

You can find out tariffs for autoroutes on the website of France’s official autoroute body AFSA – where you can also calculate the cost of your journey – including fuel.

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