I am sick to the back teeth of SFR and our internet service - please help!

When we moved here 5 years ago, one of our key issues when looking for a house was to have reasonable internet access as we needed to run a business. Until Christmas this year we had a pretty good service with booster boxes plugged into to some wall sockets as with the thick stone walls at the house the signal needed a boost.

We have an internet phone with wifi and TV package on an SFR Neuf box. We have not changed anything as far as phones or pc's are concerned but around Christmas we started to get issues with uploading any attachment to emails and very slow internet, so much so that web pages would time out before they loaded. More recently we had issues with any connection timing out. I work remotely from my home office for a UK based company and need to connect to their VPN which is just not happening at the moment. I cannot afford to lose my job over an internet issue.

For the last two weeks now we have not been able to use the internet phone. I can hear people but they cannot hear me. We have tried with friends to call and speak up to 10 times in an evening or at different times during the day, but to no avail. There is either a big delay, I can hear them and they cannot hear me or I sound like something from Doctor who!

I have conducted numerous speed tests online to see what is going on and the most recent ping test today came back at 1675 ms with download 0.68 and upload at 0.06! This is slower than dial up!

After my 4th call in as many days to SFR I was told again today that it was our problem as we had too many computers on the line!! why is this so if all worked well last year but not now?? I have found out that other neighbours also have slow internet but are not experiencing the issues with a phone as they have a fixed line.

SFR told me that on the package we have, we have a max of 2meg and we need to de-groupage to get a faster speed. Fine, but we are not in an area that offers this. What do I do?? I am reluctant to change phone providers but will do if necessary but need to keep the existing number, but what about the internet speed?

Do I call France telecom, speak to the local Marie or what are my options, if anyone can help I would be very grateful. It is coming up to our busiest time with the gite and B&B business and I cannot afford to lose customers as they cannot contact me.

A very frustrated person............... which is being polite! Please, please has someone any suggestions.

Thanking you all in advance.

Haven’t had a problem since I switched to FREE by the way.

I just want to thank you very much for the above name and email address.

SFR was sending debt collectors onto me to pay for calls I made solely to SFR technical assistance on my SFR mobile trying to restore my phone and Internet service over several weeks. It wasn’t much- under 100 euros, but I refused to pay on principle.

I wrote the debt collectors a furious letter which I copied and sent to M. Charlier, as well as ccing my lawyer and The International NY Times (though didn’t actually mail the latter two, but it always looks good to make them realise that you’re totally pissed off.)

A few weeks later I received an apologetic phone call from SFR. They promised to write off the “debt” and yesterday I actually received a cheque from them for 25 euros. I nearly keeled over!

So many, many thanks,

To the computer - telephone buffs on SFN

does anyone know if the DECT phones that operate on wifi through the telephone connection, could be causing a drop to other nearby users, or, if some are on phones, others are on computers, could the phone line or phone equipment be the middleman, in all these problems for people, with SFR and ORANGE. plus the distance the cable travels from the external source of all phone/wifi access

be responsible for drops in upload/download Time.

Someone else had raised a similar situation Not long ago that had those of us on that discussion checking on our speeds etc and when we could expect work in our areas to be done. Because there is a promise by Gov or France Telecom that speeds will be upgraded between, I think now and up to 5 years. What does using rss do, not something I’ve used because I haven’t checked out for myself yet.

When in the herault, the department Started offering financial inducements if up in the mountain we accessed wifi through FREE or another company who got into Radio Transmissions with their equipment sending the transmission up to 10kms direct line of sight to a box installed high up on an outside wall and a cable run internally to phone socket. We had the same telephone (im sure it wasn’t a DECT enabled one, we bought it in 2008 and used only France Telecom for phone phone and Internet via ORANGE on that line) with a modem, and line number but it all came through FREE, at considerable savings. Only had wifi problems if there had been a storm. Only since going to ORANGE up here with a DECT phone and live box have I had continual computer and wifi problems. So don’t think it’s down to the websites we use.

Sounds like Mike is giving some sound advice there, above this reply but I would have no idea how to do or explain to a Frenchman what I wanted done if I followed his advice. Also how would I use the iPad Air2, reliant on the Livebox to use it!

I have said this in other threads. I cannot see any reason to justify renting a router. Do you rent your computer?

I suspect the reason service providers have rubbish boxes is that the failure rate frightens users into continuing to rent.

I have a 2WIRE router that has performed faultlessly for 7 years. I got it for £1 (plus £10 postage} with a lucky eBay bid. You might have to pay a bit more than that, but multiply your annual rental by 7 and see what that works out to. Also, you can change providers without the hassle of having to return the Livebox.

If you look back, I did say all this about a month ago.


One of the main aspects we all forget, thanks to anti monopoly thinking, is that just as in the UK, the original wires we all use are owned by.... yes you guessed it, France Telecom. In the UK it's BT OpenReach.

All these 3rd party sellers are still using the original cables installed how many years ago?

So now think about what if you have a problem? Who do you call? You should of course contact your contracted service provider. But if that's SFR, who do they then call with your problem, you've got it. France Telecom who then sub-contract the problem out to......

So in the end I suggest we all go camp on Orange and put up with the fact that their live boxes are useless and need replacing every 3 months or more often. I'm on my 7th Live box since January 2014.

in that case email the CEO..always works for me Jean-Yves.Charlier@sfr.com

Done that, got the tee shirt etc John. This doesn't unlock my phone. SFR won't allow me to get on to After Sales etc using my codes and/ passwords and the boutiques tell me I have to go through After Sales....just going around in circles. One boutique did actually use the desimlocker codes and assured me the phone would be unblocked 'in a few hours' but nothing ever changed.


That's still my problem with SFR 6 months on. They refuse to unblock my phone which meant me having to buy a new phone, thank you SFR.

It might all be possible of we could actually get a mobile signal at the house. But that’s another story (mast less than a mile away but no signal at the house!) hey ho… We might as well be on the moon as we would probably better communication links!

One more nasty thing SFR did to me. Since I changed to Free mobile but kept my old mobile number, they were able to block my phone and won’t give me the code to unblock it. I actually had to go and buy a new phone this afternoon so I could go use my new Free SIM card.

We had a similar problem with SFR. We had slow speeds and at the time thought perhaps the modem might need updating. We tried speaking to their customer service and got nowhere. We asked a French neighbour to phone for us because we wondered if my technical French was not good enough to explain our concerns. Much to the astonishment of our neighbour, he was told if he didn't like it, change providers! We did just that. It took 3 Weeks which would be inconvenient for you but we now have an excellent package with Orange, speeds sometimes nearly 6(like you we can't 'regroup ' ) and I run a VPN nearly every day.

Mostly it is not SFR but the people who are working at these relays. Once, I've got call and the woman at the other site happily said "Hello Fadilla"... The guy at the relay switched numbers and this was then for 3 weeks going on. SFR reimbursed me with 2 month no charges. Another time the line was completely gone for 2 weeks, so I got another 2 month free. This was the time we decided to have additionally "tooway". The problems were never caused by SFR but by FT. Still, de jure, our contract was with SFR, their contracts with FT are not our problem. They understood and since we have Tooway and SFR, Sfr never have had a problem. You only can deal with SFR via written letter to the HQ customer service (recommend with receipt otherwise they do not bother). Good luck.

All Providers using FT infrastructure (all ADSL service). Unless it is a problem on home router, PC etc, or their servers, they have to report the fault to FT who bill them, then there is admin time. FT will not look at you if you are contracted to another ISP.

This is why they are very reluctant to do much more than fob you off or send a new router. There must be thousands of good routers out there in sheds, barns or tip.

I have to agree with Chris Radford, phonexpat are excellent. (ADSL only)

I can see why you want to keep your old number and possibly you can (at a cost). I don't know if this is possible in France but in the UK you can get (maybe only businesses) your office/home number inward calls redirected automatically to your mobile. The caller doesn't know. That sort of feature is good for sole-traders working on sites. It's also possible to access the internet via the mobile phone using 3G or 4G and connect it to your PC. Maybe something similar is possible.

We use Phonexpat, reasonable prices,fast broadband and cheap phone calls plus English speaking staff and fast service on the very odd occasion we've had problems.

Your maximum possible ADSL speed depends on your distance from the exchange and the condition of the overhead. cable. You might be able to get Telecom to check out the cable, but if you are getting your service from another supplier, it is not in their interest to do anything to help you. You may have to wait for a total failure before you can persuade them to do anything.

I seem to recall commenting on SFR some time back. We were a customer for nearly three years and I still have in my garage 7 Neuf Boxes. SFR was taken over by Numericable some time ago (a true canard boiteux) at about the same time as Virgin Mobile France - there were big sighs of relief from Richard and Charles when they amanaged to unload their canard boiteux on Numericable. I believe that Numericable had to borrow heavily to buy both these companies and it is rumoured that it did not have enough money to supply new and bigger servers to SFR. I left finally after we had had no service for almost 4 months but fortunately I had use of a private satellite system and was allowed to use it for private calls, etc..

SFR threatened me with legal action - I didn't pay the last 4 bills - and our lawyers advised me to let them do so as I could then counter claim. They owe me a small fortune as I have now been storing their Neuf Boxes for about three years. However I understand that a settlement is in the offing but then so is Christmas and HM The Queen's 90th birthday not forgetting the bicentennial of Waterloo.

Sadly I moved to Numericable where I found that I recognised many of the old SFR voices - not to mention the same problems. I did not receive a single incoming call for 6 months.

France has no strong Telecoms regulator so most of the companies get away with murder. This is what comes of a generally socialist state that at one time owned the phone metwork, the largest car company and the biggest oil company, to name but a few. Nothing much has changed and you will get poor service until all these areas are properly deregulated.

As I suspect that most of us Brits live in the backwoods, we must expect poor telecoms! Our wiring here dates back to the '50s - the electricity cables aren't much better. Every time the wind speed exceeds 55 kph, we get power cuts and I have taken photos of flashes from the cabling and sent them to the appropriate people - to no avail.

This sort of thing is part of the price you have to pay for living "The Good Life"! And please don't set me off on La Poste!!!