Internet in France

Internet in France

In metropolitan France, intense competition between Internet service providers has led to the introduction of moderately-priced high speed ADSL up to 28 Mbit/s (ATM) for 29,90€ per month. They often include other services such as unlimited free VoIP telephone communications to land lines, and digital television. Dial-up internet access is considered as outdated.

For many years now, quotas have been seen as outdated and consequently, all the broadband internet offers in France are now unmetered.

In 2006, ISP announced deployment of optical fiber offers (such as Erenis FTTB in Paris). Iliad is expected to launch a FTTH service on early 2007 up to 100 Mbit/s, France Telecom is testing FTTH technology in Paris with a large 2.5 down/1.2 up Gbit/s backbone. This service is available for 70€/month. [cite press release
publisher=France Télécom
format=HTML, in French
title=France Télécom a raccordé en Très Haut Débit des clients à Paris et dans les Hauts de Seine
] [cite press release
title=2.5Gb/s Internet For French Homes
] Neuf Cegetel offers 50 Mbit/s up/down FTTH for 35€/month in Paris and Pau, while Numericable offers 100/5 Mbit/s cable connection in the biggest french cities for 30€/month.


On 30 June 2006, France had 11.1 million broadband connections, of which 94% are ADSL subscribers, a 3.2 million lines or 41% increase from a year before. [cite web
url = | title = 2ème trimestre 2006 - Résultats provisoires | date = 2006-08-30 | work = L'Observatoire de l’Internet haut débit | publisher = Arcep | language = French
] This makes France the second largest ADSL market in Europe. At the end of 2005, 30% of those DSL lines were unbundled, and 37% of those unbundled lines were totally unbundled without any direct invoicing of the historical operator and a greater progression rate than partial unbundling. [cite web| url = | title = Le tableau de bord du 30 juin 2006 | date = 2006-08-30 | work = Observatoire dégroupage et bitstream | publisher = ARCEP| language = French ] At the end of September 2005, more than 95% of the population can have a DSL connection, albeit some of them only 512/128.

Furthermore, actual Internet transfer rates may stay far behind the advertised DSL connection speed, depending on the subscriber's home distance to the DSLAM. While a connection of 20 Mbit/s download, 1 Mbit/s upload may give transfer rates of only roughly 2 Mbit/s (200 kB/s) or less download and 500 kbit/s (50 kB/s) upload (to various servers in France, Germany and USA, academic and hosting services), other people have no problem reaching the advertised speed.Fact|date=January 2007

ADSL Market

Wanadoo, now known in France as Orange SA, a subsidiary of France Telecom, is the leader with half of the market with 49.5%, helped by the reputation and availability of physical shops of the incumbent operator to overcome slightly higher prices because of its obligation of using fixed prices. Other operators shares the rest, with the first being Free (subsidiary of Iliad) with 17.9% (18.2% at the end of Q2 2006 [cite press release | url = | title = 1H 2006 Revenues | publisher = Iliad|date = 2006-07-31 |format=PDF] ) of the market, just above Neuf Cegetel (Louis Dreyfus Group) which merged his ADSL activities with Cegetel (Vivendi Universal) with 13.2%. [Cite press release| url =| title = 2005 Results Presentation| accessdate = 2006-08-04| date = March, 2006| format = PDF| publisher = Iliad| language = English] Then came the other operators: Alice (Telecom Italia) which bought Tiscali, for 6.1%, Club internet (Deutsche Telekom) for 4.4%, AOL, Tele2, and small operators, frequently virtual. The trend is a slow augmentation for the challengers at the expense of Wanadoo.

ADSL Offers

The market is oriented towards stopping the price war, and offering more services at a price around 30€, slightly more for the incumbent operator:
* maximum throughput permitted by the line, either 8 Mbit/s (maximum of ADSL), 24 Mbit/s (maximum of ADSL2+) or 28 Mbit/s (Broadcom non-standard ADSL2+ deployed on Free network) depending on the line length and type of DSLAM
* unlimited telephony to land lines in Europe, North America (even mobile phones), China and India
* television with the broadcasting of the young terrestrial digital TV and paid satellite TVThose triple play offers were initiated by Free with the Freebox modem, and are expanding to all major players, driving the French market. [cite web| url =| title = The Telecom Exploits Of Iliad | accessdate = 2006-08-04| author = Andy Reinhardt| date = 2005-12-05| format = HTML| work = European business| publisher = BusinessWeek| language = English]

As the market matures, it is beginning to open to smaller "boutique" broadband suppliers that specialize in meeting the needs of specific market segments. For example, [ Teleconnect France] has introduced an AngloPack ADSL/VOIP service for the 250,000 English-speaking expats residing in France, featuring 20 MB/s connection speeds; free calls to the UK, USA and other anglophone countries; provision of a local UK number permitting a user's family and friends to call the user's VOIP line in France at the cost of a local call; and full customer service in English. Teleconnect is the only broadband service provider in France with an English help desk.

First prices between 15€ and 20€ per month remain for a small usage with limited throughput around one megabit per second (but often ADSL2 max in unbundled zones). Those prices can also be attained with complete unbundling, saving the monthly 15€ for the POTS subscription while retaining the triple play services. Those offers of naked DSL are also available in non-unbundled areas, and can led to the economy of the traditional telephone subscription. [cite press release | url = | title = Telephone line rental is now included in the Freebox subscription in non-unbundled areas | date = 2006-08-22 | publisher = iliad | accessdate = 2006-08-23 |format=PDF] [cite press release
title = the end of traditional telephone subscriptions in France | url = | date = 2006-08-17 | publisher = Neuf Cegetel | accessdate = 2006-08-23

ADSL Technology

After selling the first ADSL2+ offers in Europe, providing a speed of 18 Mbit/s down and 1 Mbit/s up in 2004, French operators continue to offer new services, driven by the competition. It is possible to use video telephony, video on demand, Reach Extended ADSL for 8 km lines soon. Experiments aren't any more the Iliad/Free trademark: they recently demonstrated an aggregated 174 Mbit/s link, [cite press release |publisher=Iliad |date=2005-11-25 |url= |format=PDF |title=Free est parvenu à délivrer grâce aux technologies DSL un débit maximum de 174 Mbit/s en réception et 18 Mbit/s en émission |accessdate=2006-08-04 ] while Telecom Italia innovates on the service with a free hotline and France Telecom is pushing VDSL.

In December 2005, Free enabled a TV multicasting service on the customer's local network, an open solution based on RTSP. [cite press release |publisher=Iliad |date=2005-12-01 |url= |format=PDF |title=Freebox TV is now multi-device enabled! |accessdate=2006-08-04 ] This completes the media center capability of the freebox, also using the VideoLAN project. [cite press release |publisher=Iliad |date=2005-06-22 ||format=PDF |title=Freebox subscribers now have their own home media center |accessdate=2006-08-04 ] They launched on April 2006 a new Freebox divided in two devices with DVB-T and HDTV capabilities and a Mimo WiFi network. [cite press release |publisher=Iliad |date=2006-04-19 |url= |format=PDF |title=New HD Freebox Released |accessdate=2006-08-04 ]

Quadruple play, triple play with mobile communications, is available: Neuf Cegetel is selling for 200€ and 1€ with a plan Twin, [cite press release |publisher=Neuf Cegetel| date=2006-05-30 | url=|format=HTML |title=Neuf Cegetel, leading the way in fixed/mobile convergence, is launching TWIN, the first GSM/WiFi hybrid telephone on the consumer market |accessdate=2006-08-04 ] a GSM/WiFi hybrid telephone after the experimental [ beautifulphone] , by the means of a QTek 8300 and Wanadoo sells Unik, a Motorola, Nokia or Samsung handset for 100€. [cite press release |publisher=France Telecom |date=2006-05-31 |url= |format=HTML |title=France Telecom Launches the New Orange: a Single Brand for Internet, TV and Mobile, a Leading Brand In Opening Up Digital Services |accessdate=2006-08-04] Free develops a wifi mesh network of HD freeboxes to be used to provide mobile telephony and compete with traditional cellular operators.


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