How do I find out if broadband is available or when it's coming?
There are a number of sites online where you can test your telephone line to see if broadband is available, what the speed is likely to be and some cases when the exchange will be activated for Broadband.
www.dslvalley.com, is the most informative site. Type in your number and your postcode and press the test my eligibility button (the site is in French but is very easy to follow). After a few moments of testing you will be shown the results, this will show
- Code NRA : TEH09 (Your exchange code)
- NRA (commutateur local) : TEILHET 500M PONT (The location of your exchange)
- Distance vous séparant du central : 4776m(Your distance from the Exchange this must be below 6500m)
- Taux d'atténuation : 47.21 dB (This is the noise rating and should be below 60dB)
- Débit ADSL2+ (estimation) : Entre 2 Mbps et 4 Mbps (This is the estimated speed of the line)
Below the test results is a list of the major broadband suppliers and shows what services are available in your area.
The other site worth a mention is www.degrouptest.com very similar to dslvalley but lacks possible activation dates.
It may be a good time to review how much you are paying for broadband and telephone communications. There are two types of contract commonly available,
Option 1: Where you pay individually for your landline, for your broadband, and your calls. This is the traditional type of contract and can work out to be extremely expensive. Landline €16 per month, broadband €29 per month, plus individual calls can mean you are paying more than 50 euros per month.
Option 2: Where you pay one fee for a combined contract this includes the landline, broadband, and unlimited calls to landline numbers in multiple countries (around 100). This type of contract is often considerably cheaper and prices start from €31 per month a considerable saving over the traditional type plus you get unlimited land line calls.
You don’t necessarily need to change supplier to get the best deal, both the two biggest suppliers Orange and SFR offer upgrade deals for current subscribers, a call to customer service is usually all that’s needed and maybe an agreement to remain with the supplier for another year.
France Telecom Orange have an English speaking helpline and can be contacted in working hours on 09 69 36 39 00 they are able to help with any billing or technical question. Many Orange customers are still using option 1 and paying separately for each service, you may also be getting a slower connection so well worth checking with Orange.
SFR can be contacted by calling 1077 from a landline telephone or 0805 701 801. (French only although the occasional operator does speak English). Most SFR customers are already on option 2 the combined contract but some older AOL, Neuf, Cegitel, Tele2 or Club internet customers need to check with SFR as they might not have been upgraded when SFR took over these suppliers.
For those in total black spot areas (or white zones as they are known in France) then not all is lost. Many villages have a form of wireless broadband installed locally while more expensive than ADSL it does give you a high speed connection. Otherwise its worth trying 3G using the mobile telephone network of cell towers, you can buy a 3G key to plug into the computer and sign up for pay as you go or monthly contract, the speed is far less than ADSL but much faster than a dial up connection. As a very last resort when nothing else is available then Satellite broadband is available in all areas, its expensive to install and run and not as reliable as ADSL (many days of slow connections and often cuts out in bad weather) but again better than a dial up connection.