Internet speeds in rural areas

Hi everyone,

I would like to get a bit of your experiences in regards to internet speeds throughout France. It will greatly influence the location we will be moving to.

Here in Scotland we live on the outskirts of Fort William and although BT have put in new cabinets to run their second generation broadband.. it is still provided to the end user via copper cable which means that after 1 km, the speed drops significantly. Adding to that the contention and there is really no benefit to sign up for an expensive package which can not be provided.

We are at the moment running a community project, providing an alternative wireless internet connection to rural areas. It has been saving many hospitality businesses from closing, brought peace to many households and is proving to be a crucial request from people wanting to relocate to the area.

How is the situation out there?

Very interesting Peter! Thank you for that. We have been shifting our interest from down the Ardeche to the Drome area and up so will now make sure we investigate this option further. It is mostly to be able to work from home so yes, a good internet will be crucial.


Chris, It might be useful to know that here in the Ain (01) there is an on-going project to cable almost all homes & businesses in the entire departement with fibre. The initial investment comes from the taxpayer, but is recovered via the ISPs, who now include both Orange & Numericable (SFR). All locations should have at least 100Mbps and the earliest were connected some 5 years ago. I'm in a 'sort-of' rural area, a long way from any large (French) towns but somewhere that acts as a dormitory suburb for Geneva, though the connections are 100% via France. The monthly bill is €27 and gives me all the usual French benefits, such as free calls to most landlines worldwide, as well as to French mobiles. I'm with Numericable, who offer a cable TV service (using RFOG - Radio Frequency over Glass) where multiple TV channels are available simultaneously as well as the IP network. The speed? - Rated at 200Mbps download & 20 Mbpps upload, and we actually can get performance at that sort of level, but only if the other end supports it.

John, having tried to live on 0.2Mbps for the longest time, I know I do not want to go back to that. We had 2Mb while setting up our network and now have 8 or 9 on a daily basis. 15Mb would be great but I consider that a luxury for what I need. If a VPN can run on that and Skype and video conferencing is good enough, than I will be happy.

What speed do you think that you need? In my rural location I get nothing like the speeds quoted by others but even so it provides everything I need. Day to day Internet use is perfect, Skype works as and when required and I occasionally use iPlayer to watch a particular BBC programme. Unless your business needs state of the art video conferencing or huge downloads you might find that you can make do with slower speeds than you thought.

Thanks Carl. Totally opposite site from where I am aiming for, near the mountains :)

Right there :)

That is very sweet of you Caroline :) Will send you a message

Thanks Patrick, that is very useful. Another few addresses to put on my list :)

Robert, this fall-outs of either EDF or France Telecom are here arround Uzes as well (they are renting the lines to the ISP operators like SFR, Free etc) and are therefore responsible. To some degree it is Orange as a subsidiarity of France Telecom because they do the maintenance for radio-transmisson and relay stations.You can read this on all their masts which have these beamers on top. Complains are just dropping down into the sand of a call centre somewhere in Algeria...

(incidentally a little anecdote why the massive revenues are not reinvested sufficiently in France: Thanks to Bernhard Kouchner Orange also has its own subsidiarity in Monaco and this is why this dark-hole in Yugoslavia, called Kosovo, have had the international Pre-fix 377, - with pre-paid cards sales only, this guarantees astronomic profits which in turn confirms that the money laundering sch(a)eme are going through investments and this applies also to state-owned-private-public-partnership profiteers)

So, Tooway has a "unlimited" option. Its 8O Euro. I have sufficient download speed when I use SFR but uploading a Giga (due to large size photos and videos) was unacceptable. F-zilla have had more time-outs I could bare. So with Tooway my guys in overseas are happy to get their footage in time. SNG was far too expensive. And, most important, I take the whole unit with me to Croatia and mount it there on my little cottage on the island with not extra costs... If you calculate all the roaming, time and chatting with experts this Tooway is not bad.

If you want to come and have a look around do get in touch, we can maybe help out.

WE looked at many houses around Poitou Charentes and Limousin and broadband spped was critical for us. Many places were rejected on that basis and to help we used a number of sources before we even viewed. was useful if we could find a local phone number. Estate agents either thought satellite was fine (which iof you want anything like VPN or VOIP it isn't) or directed our search to towns where fibre or good adsl was common. In the end we found a very rural spot (Haute Vienne near Chalus fwiw) but where orange assured us could provide 8mbps - we made 6mbps ADSL a condition in the compromis de vente and the vendor had orange connect up and prove the speed - at our cost and a further reconnection once we moved in. But to be fair apart from a couple of bad days (usually diring school holidays when I suspect our neighbours kids are gaming online) we have adequate speeds Skype is usually possible, vpn during the day is good, voip phones have sufficient bandwidth Our speedtestusually says between 4 and 6 mbps - streaming video isn't recommended but business wise we function.


Thanks Caroline :) Lots of snails here too but not of the edible kind!
10Mbps is something most of us could only dream of here and even in towns like Fort William you are lucky if you get 20 and that is supposed to be high speed.

We rarely watch tv these days and I think we might even less when living in France.. so no direct need for that BUT we do have friends all over the glove so a decent connection to skype or phone would be great!

Looks like another beautiful location Caroline :) We have not made a firm decision yet so may still end up in the Provence.. or near the Alps!

Thank you for the kind wishes. Will keep everyone posted..

whereabouts are you Carl? Nice speed.. even on last bit copper.

hahaha... well, I forgot about that bit :)

This was my understanding Theo....I wasn't 100% sure mind you and therefore didn't reply earlier.

My only problem is that they charge by usage and I have no idea of checking what I currently use per month.....any suggestions for finding out would be much appreciated ;o))

Chris with Tooway you have skype or other VIOP. Its faster then cooper and less break down. And it is cheaper then all this business contracts of all ISPs in France. You need to get the dish in Cambridge (sure they have a service here in France) but better you install yourself. Good thing is you have a direct line straight GCHQ and not all goes first through DSEG ;-) as a small consolation: You'll have a British IP, - means you can watch your beloved tele stations.

Hi Chris we are in the northern part of the Var, about 1500 metres from the centre of the village of Aups, but on a rural road. It does sometimes feel like we are very much last on the line for some things but we have quite good internet coverage, about 10/11 Mbps which is good enough generally for everything we need - we’ve given up our land line as it’s cheaper to have just the phone through the Internet - ft give you free calls to European landlines. We watch tv through the Internet too. Perfectly adequate to give us ip tv.
It does drop occasionally in speed, but only for a second or two.
Bon chance - lots of snails in the Drome! Good with garlic butter of course.

VDSL Sir so the last bit is copper and the rest is optical.

You on fibre, then? Seems extraordinarily high if it's only copper — and especially that up/down ratio?!