Internet/Wifi connect when first arriving in France

Can anyone please advise what the procedure is for getting WiFi up and connected and running in our house in France in the shortest time possible? I have tracked down how to get a landline connected once we get there, (there is no connection at the moment) but is it possible to do anything "remotely" from UK to avoid a potential lengthy wait? I am sure everyone on this blog will have undergone this exercise at one time or another and a brief idea of what is involved would be massively appreciated.

Many thanks

Jenny Jones

Jennifer, Take a look at

I have reserved a line with them at €1.19 a month which I will be able to use via Tooway when installed, and via my mobile. Cost of Tooway equal to cost of Orange landlines and Wanadoo Internet.

Many thanks for everyone's contribution. Much appreciated. It seems the bottom line is probably that something Like Tooway is an excellent way forward but it does have the disadvantages of a) being expensive and b) no landline comes with it. But it will be interesting to research this further once we get to France. Contributions much appreciated.

France Telecom was rebranded Orange and the official company name is Orange S.A. (since July 2013). Certainly, the France Telecom name and acronym FT will still haunt us (and them) for a long time.

Yes, as Nick says, a disaster. Orange is not a single company, although it once was, we have Zattoo subscribed from its owners Swiss Orange who have nothing to do with the French. The same is with the UK. What was France Telecom bought the right to use the brand, changed its name to Orange (except for the lines which it still says are owned by FT) and then became an Orange like no other.

All of which I agree, BUT you can prepare your self by talking to the English speaking Help line, which can give you information about availability and etc and that information may be invaluable t=in determining what route you adopt.

The local Orange shop is fine but good French is helpful where I live, Ste Foy. However, once I knew we had broadband the whole process took a few days from soup to nuts and it does work well even though we are the very last phone on the line from the local ADSL box.

Doing anything "remotely" from UK is likely to be a disaster if its Orange. You have to visit the local Orange shop in person, constantly pressing for action, However once you have it, the Orange package has been very good and the internet broadband connection rarely fails and we are in a very rural area.


Two further thoughts.

1) If you have purchased your house thru an estate agent, they should be able to start the process of getting you a land line

2) Alternatively, there is a English Language help desk provided by France Telecom and they should be able to tell you if and when you will get a land line. I DO NOT KNOW the number but individuals on this board will post the number for you. PLEASE!!!

Unless you have bought a house on top of a mountain, I believe that FT have a legal requirement to provide you with a phone line. Not sure but again others might know more than I.

One of the things to remember about Satellite Internet is that some of the packages allow unlimited download/upload during nighttime hours. You can get software (usually free) which allows you to put downloads and uploads into a queue and then to perform these actions at night when they do not impact on your data Upload/Download limits, thus it is easier to keep within your contracted limits. We are considering switching to Satellite Internet at the moment.

I'll endorse that, I have heard good things about John Sidwell and if we eventually go over to satellite then we'll go to him. The only thing to worry about is that with the cheaper subscriptions it only takes a couple of film downloads and you have used up the lot. From what we have heard from people who do not do that, streaming TV and email is no problem.

Just to back up what Roger Boaden says about John Sidwell. He's on the Dordogne/Haute Vienne border not far from you and is truly brill. I can thorougly recommend his services as can the hundreds of satisfied customers he has dealt with over the years no doubt.

(I expect to receive my cheque in the post asap John !!!)

Satellites are best avoided they cost an arm & a leg. I was told that a 5gb allowance each month would be enough for e-mails and surfing but it was totally inadequate. We have a system called ALSATIS. They have a large tower which beams to various water towers etc. The water tower then beams to an antenna. We have this because the local exchange is so antiquated the internet doesn't work.

I also use Wi Fi in bars etc.

While waiting for the landline, I would look into the option of using wifi over the mobile network as interim solution. Of course, it depends on proper network coverage. If there is network, then It's probably the least problematic: 20€/month subscription from Free, put the SIM card in a 3G/4G wireless router et voilà.

Access to a France Telecom line is obviously essential and if that is not going to be available soon then you have no choice but a Satellite link.

I have just got connected via broadband and no surprises that has transformed our use of the Internet which we use much more than I had anticipated.

My research into satellite links indicated that all the data that comes down the link is part of your monthly allowance, not just emails but all the software updates that take place in the background and that can make satellite a very expensive choice.

Before I got broadband, I did most of my low speed stuff on dial up and went into town to use the WiFi services available there. They are also often available at the local bar in the village if you are in or close to one.

You may have no choice but may I suggest you do some local research before you make any long term commitments.

Hi Jenny, just seen you are listed as Limoges - John is south-west from Limoges, the other side of Chalus. Since he's so close has to be worth your while calling him. He sells kits for self-installing, or will install for you.

I have Nordnet, internet via Satellite, tuned to Astra 2, the same position as the UK TV Satellite. I installed it all myself and the kit is very comprehensive. My subscription gives me 10 Gigs per month, plus unlimited phone calls within France. Easy to install and use, i would not hesitate to recommend it. The WiMax Service I had before the Nordnet was very unreliable and kept going off line. Hope this helps.

Good Morning Jenny

Where in France are you heading? If anywhere near the western side of the Haute Vienne then contact John Sidwell on

John used to install SKY systems in the UK, moved to France, and has a long experience of Freesat, and Tooway, supplying, installing etc.. I have found his professional advice invaluable since we moved here 13 years ago.

You could try . We found them to be pretty fast, and suits our needs.

Orange (was france telecom) have an English speaking help line, we recently set up a line and internet in France, very efficient, better than BT, number from UK is 0033.969.36.39.00

thanks for that, Brian. I am nowlooking into Tooway - looks like a very good alternative.

Many thanks!