Internet access via 3G

I'm hoping somebody can give some advice regarding our Internet access nightmare.

We live in a small hamlet of 9 houses. The only provider we can use for Internet access is Orange, as only they offer extended broadband to our location.

We pay 24.90 a month for the extended broadband, plus the France Telecom 32 euros for the landline, plus all our phone calls. It amounts to nearly 70 euros a month all told.

Both the other Internet users in the hamlet have a livebox, and so their monthly outgoings are about 33 euros. When we have asked to have the same facility, Orange tell us we do not qualify because our line has too low "debit". They cannot explain why; they simply say that our line does not support a sufficient "debit" to enable the use of a Livebox, unlike the neighbours to our left and right.

Our Internet connection used to function fairly well until a few months ago, when it broke down completely for three weeks. Orange were unable to tell us what the problem was and didn't seem at all interested in repairing it. Since it finally started working once more, it has been very off and on, sometimes no connection at all for hours, and download speeds as low as 12 kbps. At other times it is OK.

It's very unsatisfactory to know that we pay twice as much as the neighbours for a service that isn't half as good.

When we went to see Orange yesterday they proposed a 3g key for 33 euros a month for 195 hours of Internet per month but which they said would give us a guaranteed fast connection. So even more expensive.

Does anybody know if any other providers offer a better deal for 3g? I would really like not to have to keep paying Orange for their very poor service.

We have already been involved in a dispute with them over an "Internet Plus" subscription that they attached to our service at a cost of 20 euros a month, something we knew nothing about, never used and didn't want. It took several weeks and the threat of legal action to get them to refund the 240 euros they had taken from our account. And I keep wondering why we have had so many problems ever since.

Hi Nick

I've spoken to Wibox, and from what they have told me we would have a satellite connection at 6 meg, but limited to 91 hours Internet per month. Forgive my ignorance, but would that mean that we'd only be able to have use of the telephone for that 91 hours, in which case the system wouldn't be any good for us?



Thank you Nick, I have checked that out but am not too clear on what they are offering yet. After testing our line it comes up saying that the recommended means of connection is by satellite, and then offering us one of their tariffs, but I'm not sure if it means that we would end up on some kind of satellite system, so am waiting for them to respond to me.

It would be nice to move away from Orange given the appalling service that they provide, or rather don't provide. I will let you know how Wibox respond.

Best wishes


You are lucky to have a Livebox, as Orange will not give us one. Somebody we know, who is very technical, investigated our line and we find that we are on the very outer limit reachable from the exchange, which we have always known but previously worked satisfactorily. Now it appears that new subscribers, closer to the exchange, have been "tacked on" to our line by branches, and when they are using the Internet the signal is too weak to reach us. Orange are in violation of their contract to supply us.

If you have a Livebox, by the way, you don't need to have the FT landline as well, because your calls pass via the Internet (except of course when the Internet isn't working!). I agree that to understand FT/Orange's offers requires a degree in quantum mechanics or astrophysics or something similar, but I do know that you can have the basic subscription, just for the Internet, and not have to pay the landline subscription.

Susie a better idea might be to see if Wibox operate in your area, they say they cover most of France now. It is a Wimax system (broadband WIFI) which will need a very small arial being put up, and you need to be withing a certain radius of the transmitting tower. It's what I use, and it is a lot cheaper than 70 euros a month for 2Mbits circuit.

It is limited in speed, but is more than enough for video chats, skype and Youtube etc, though trying to watch an HD movie would not be possible.

3G is a very slow service, and could potentially prove to be move expensive, you would need to check exactly any tarrif offered.

Have a look at their site , and see if you can get connected.




Hello, Susie!

I've have just joined this 'group' - basically because your post caught my eye.

I'm afraid I can't really offer any solutions to your main problem - I'm not a techno whizz-kid! - but I have a few comments.

Here in the N Charente, our commune has had broadband for about 4 years. (There was a book running on which would arrive first - broadband, mobile phone or mains drainage - the latter won!). We are within 200m of the 'hub' - but our speeds are only about 25% of the 'theoretical' value, even on a good day. The maire is trying to get France Telecom to do something about it, bt it seems we are a low priority.

Like you, we have Orange as our provider. Our 'livebox' went down for no apparent reason ten days ago - the second time it has failed. A simple telephone call ensured that we could collect a replacement the following day from the nearest Orange store - no question of repair, no questions at all, in fact. On the previous occasion (lightning damage) a replacement was delivered to the tabac in the neighbouring village within 24 hours. On both occasions, all we had to do was to return the malfunctioning device.

Having said that, I am sure that there are cheaper ways of doing things. I've stuck with FT for telephone and Orange for internet simply because I know what it costs me, and cannot for the life of me understand all the other 'offers' that are out there - and my wife speaks fluent French! Same problem with 'mobiles'. Several friends have taken the plunge and tried changing providers, only to find that they ended up paying more eventually. Total degroupement appears to be the only viable solution financially, but then those who have done it found that their new service was not connected for ten days, whilst FT cut them off immediately! C'est la vie Francaise! (And it is no better in the UK I add, before someone accuses me of 'not being willing to adapt').

I'll be interested to learn if anyone can come up with some good advice on this - there must be more than thee and me interested in a solution!

Hope you are on-line reliably enough to read this!