Best way for me to access the Internet

My internet via Orange livebox is hopelessly slow. I understand from Orange that nothing can be done to speed up my ADSL connection . Now it is 1.94 Mbps but it is often too slow to open emails and my internet radio loses Radio 4 at dramatic moments. I need advice on whether to go for Wimax or a satellite. I haven’t got a business but I’d love to be able to use Skype, You Tube etc which seldom work smoothly here.

I confess that I haven’t needed to look in detail at the options in France, we are stunningly lucky to have VDSL in the village (it was installed just after we bought). We’re stuck with Orange but apart from that have good Internet which is a real bonus.

It is reasonably likely that Orange is telling the truth if you are in a village a long way from the local exchange but it might be useful if you have access to someone with a technical bent to check things over. I think you can find which exchange you are connected to at

For a downstream speed of just under 2Mbps you should be around 5km from the exchange - if you are a lot closer there might be a problem with the line. It is worth checking the quality of the extension wiring in the house and use/placement of filters which can make a lot of difference with a marginal connection. Finally it might be worth trying a different modem - Orange don’t necessarily make this easy but it is possible. Again you might need to find someone who is comfortable tinkering with this kind of thing. If you don’t fancy that or don’t know a tame techie then someone in another thread mentioned that their speed increased with the new Livebox 4 so that might be something else to check before abandoning ADSL completely.

Satellite will have wider availability but it is not so good for browsing and very poor for things like VOIP because it takes the data a very long time to travel up to the satellite and back down to the Internet (this is known as latency).

WiMax might be better if it is available to you, or you could look at access via a 3G or 4G dongle if you have a good mobile phone signal.

In the UK I would also suggest that you could look into getting another phone line and internet connection and using the two in parallel - this is called bondng. No idea whether anything is available in France and it tends to be a business oriented thing. Of course in the UK my (business) ISP does not give a hoot that I’m not really a business, don’t have a VAT number etc but when I briefly looked into the business sector in France they pretty much wanted a Siret/Siren before they would talk to you.

Try googling for “agrégation des connexions ADSL” - might give you some leads.

Hi Sally - just a thought before you head off down the Wimax / Satellite route…have you had a word with your local mairie about any plans to upgrade internet provision in your area. It may be just around the corner as there is a huge push to upgrade poorly served areas.

Plan France Très Haut Débit


Hi Paul,
Thank you very much for your detailed reply to my distinctly unoriginal question. The degroup link was useful and someone from there is to call me back tomorrow. My local exchange is only 675 metres away but it’s just a sort of metal cupboard in the centre of a small remote village in Herault.
I have a Livebox 3 and fairly new wiring in the house but my neighbours complain of slow internet too and we’re not due fibre till 2020. I think my next step is to check into WiMax as my mobile signal is good. Unfortunately I have yet to find a tame techie.
I am most grateful for your advice

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Hi Simon,
Thank you very much for your reply. That link was extremely useful as it shows we’re not due fibre here till 2020 and the official speed is less than 3 Mbps - in fact much less when more people are here in the summer.
I will try the mairie to see if they know if WiMax is in range.
Thanks again for your helpful ideas.

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Hi Sally.
Just to let you know that according to the site your area in france is now closed to new subscribers for satellite broadband.
Good luck with your search.

same here! We are on sat2way satellite system, and are testing out the 3G+ and 4G possibilities in our area.

Remember that you need the “tethering” option. I tested Free and Sosh, and their ‘entry level’ subscriptions don’t seem to do it. Bouygues however seems OK even though it is only 3G+ at the moment here. Any experiences from anyone else who has replaced their cable/sat connection with mobile internet?

You say you have 1.94Mbps but it is often too slow to open emails?? Are you sure? At my current location I am on just over half a Meg and have no trouble with Youtube, Skype, or anything else. Streaming movies can be borderline during periods of high usage but never a problem… If you are actually that close to your source (675 metrers) the problem is much more likely to be either your modem/router or your hardware.

Thank you for replying. I got the 1.94 speed test result when the internet
was working at its best. I don’t know how to work out the speed when I
can’t open a speed test website.
As for hardware, I have a Livebox 3 and a laptop that’s only about 6
months old.
I think I am affected by neighbouring users as performance slows when the
school bus gets back and when more people are here in the summer.
At the moment it’s half-term and 3 neighbouring families with teenagers
are away skiing. Much as I like them, their absence does seem to speed up
the internet.

A major nuisance I’m sure. I see you have already contacted Orange about it and typically they give you the “French Shrug”. As it seems your equipment is new and I assume working as it should, perhaps the connection point you say is 675 metres away in merely a connection point. It is the distance from there to the exchange that is the critical issue that cannot be changed. Best to pursue your idea with a satellite provider, but be warned. They are an expensive option. I wish I could suggest something better to help but sadly, no.

I use Bouygues wireless broadband in the summer on 4g using a 3g modem and i can run 6 devices including a tv openbox for UK channels- I am in Le Barcares
20Gb a month for 26.99 40Gb for €42.99 a month - no contract but they have a new box not suitable for me at

Crikey Jim - that’s incredibly expensive!

A quick search shows much cheaper, no contract, mobile data rates with SFR Red at 10€ per month for 20Gb and Freemobile at 19,99€ per month for 50Gb!

If you only have access to mobile data (and the relevant mobile operators of course!) - just pop one of these SIM cards into your smartphone and use it as a wifi hotspot for multiple connections. Although streaming TV / Film takes up around 1Gb per hour so probably not ideal for TV & Film viewing.

Hi Simon,
Sally was saying her internet is hopelessly slow but she has a good wireless signal - I was just indicating that this was a cheaper option than satellite broadband and still quite fast. Satellite Broadband is LTE which is basically 4G so is no better and more expensive. I use an openbox on my satellite dish instead of a sky box - I don’t get BBC/ITV/C4 etc. but I get all the Sky Channels (Movies/Sports/Irish/Sky Channels/Music/ Documentary etc.) and it uses 100Mb a day. I looked at the free offer and it is only available if you subscribe to a Freebox as well so you need a landline which I don’t have as it is a holiday home and I only provide internet for 4 months of the year. I have not looked at the SFR offer in detail to see if it is linked to having a fixed line but I see it is restricted to 4 top ups, we used SFR before and the top ups were 1Gb for €10 and €35 for 4Gb and that was last year so I would be surprised if things have changed that much in a year

Jim - you seem really confused - have you actually looked at the links I provided? Neither of them have anything to do with landlines!

Both the offers I referred to above (SFR Red And Freemobile) are simply SIM card only deals - nothing to do with any fixed line or ‘box’. The Freemobile offer is NOT only available if you subscribe to a Freebox - read it again. SFR Red is the low cost arm of SFR - not at all the same thing, and again no Neufbox / fixed line required.

You pop the SIM cards into a smartphone and use your smartphone wifi hotspot facility. Great for folks with only mobile data access and no landline access.

Just trying to help but you seem hell bent on the expensive Bouygues option. Your choice :slight_smile:

You are right about satellite broadband being very expensive after the price increases last year Tooway which is part of the Europsat group now charge 29.95e for 10GB 49.95e for 25GB and 69.95e for 40GB but a lot of people who live in the sticks do not have any other choice but to pay these prices.

Is that because they have no mobile network signals? Essentially, if you have a decent mobile network signal 3G / 4G - then there are many much cheaper options with the mobile operators.

Can only talk about myself and near neighbours, but most of us are lucky not to loose the mobile signal half way through a phone call never mind about getting 3G.
It is so nice when we go away in our campingcar and stop in a town center Aire, wow we never stop playing with our smart phones when we see the magical 3G signal.

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Did you try ringing Orange’s English speaking technical help line (09 69 36 39 00) 9-5 Mon-Sat while you were having the problems? I have found them to be very good at saying if the problem is “On the line” i.e. outside the house or not. No point ringing when it’s working as they will say that it’s working. If it’s outside the house they normally send somebody around quite quickly. Inside the house and it’s down to you to get a technician in to check over your wiring but they may be able to advise. We are 6 km from the hub and have about 2.4 Mb on good days (sometimes 3.0 :smile: and currently 0.6 Mb :frowning: which is slow but does let us use the internet (including skype) just about OK. The 0.6 is because we are waiting for Orange to lift the cable out of the wet field and onto the telegraph posts that were put up 6 months ago after a rogue digger went berserk - it was fine until the recent very wet weather. As somebody else said earlier, you should replace the ADSL filter that plugs into the wall and that your livebox plugs into every few years as it too can cause problems. If you are less than a kilometre from the hub you should not be having problems unless the wiring is poor.
The Orange (English speaking) technical help line is very good and they do seem to know their stuff.

Just a possibility… I assume that because you have a laptop you are using the wireless capability of your livebox. Is your wireless connection secure? If it is not, it is possible that the children next door are actually using YOUR internet which will slow you down.