The twists and turns of the super-fast internet installation. Illustration (GETTY IMAGES / DIGITAL VISION)
The government wants the ultra-fast Internet with optical fiber to be a universal service by 2025. We are talking about it today with Benjamin Douriez, who investigated for the magazine 60 Millions de consommateurs.
franceinfo: What is certain is that the confinement of March 2020 was a revelation, an accelerator of needs?
Benjamin Douriez: Yes, we can still feel it today, in many homes. When there is one, even two adults working from home, sometimes a teenager who takes online courses or watches videos, traditional connections, ADSL connections, which go through the “old” telephone network, show their limits. Optical fiber appears to be THE solution. It offers a much faster flow therefore allows simultaneous use without slowdowns.
And is deployment going as fast as demand?
Not necessarily, alas. The deployment is continuing, it is a very long term project. Today, roughly speaking, a good half of the French can have access to it. This is progressing steadily, between 1 million and 1.5 million additional homes each quarter become eligible. But there are great territorial inequalities, as we can imagine. In Île-de-France, a highly urbanized region, we are approaching the 90% of inhabitants who have access to fiber. In other regions, such as Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Brittany, Corsica, it is rather around 30 to 35%.
Does that mean that operators still have their work cut out for them to achieve the government’s objectives?
The official goal is for 80% of French people to have access to fiber by the end of 2022, so in a little over a year and a half. And 100%, everyone, in 2025. It will not be at all easy to achieve this, because operators have already covered the areas easiest to cover, the heart of cities, small or large. There remain areas where habitat is less dense. ·
Go fast is good, the problem is that there are apparently more and more connection problems?
This is a type of complaint that is exploding in the messages we receive at 60 million consumers. Hence the survey that we devote to it in our magazine this month. You should know that to be connected to the fiber the first time, the visit of an installer is necessary, to unroll the last meters of cable between the fiber box which is at the bottom of the building, or in the street, up to to your living room. And there, it can get stuck for lots of reasons: the technician does not show up for the appointment, he cannot get the cable through… It is more frequent than you think.
And what’s surprising is that sometimes you can’t be hooked up when the neighbor across the street is perfectly. How can we explain that?
Sometimes, there are errors in the deployment files: your accommodation is not correctly referenced, it blocks the connection. Or because the neighborhood facility was undersized. And in certain situations, there may be a need for special work at the expense of the consumer.
And then sometimes the installation can cause damage?
We could make a blunder with the photos of poorly done work sent to us by the readers of 60 million consumers. A hole does anything in a wall, a cable that is left hanging in a corner… Or even a collateral damage on another electrical connection. Some installers, fortunately in the minority, are not very careful. It will then be necessary to claim the responsibility for any damage to the operator.
So what are the main things to know before subscribing?
First, sometimes you have to go around the suppliers. Sometimes one supplier will offer fiber for your area, but not others. Especially in areas outside large cities, where networks are deployed under the aegis of local communities. And then fiber does not only have advantages: the subscription is often a little more expensive than ADSL.
In terms of the quality / price ratio precisely, what are the advice of your magazine?
There are different ranges of fiber optic offerings. First, in terms of speeds, the first offers offer a connection at 300 or 400 megabits per second. This is more than enough for a family. To prevent the bill from flying away, try to find offers that do not have a television package, or a limited package, this can keep the price below 30/35 euros per month.
And if everything works, is fiber really a plus?
Undeniably. No slowdowns if there are several connected at the same time. We have worry-free access to high definition videos. And also, the throughput is also high when sending data. In ADSL, the send rate is always lower than the receive rate. Not in fiber. This counts for example if you send large files.
I hope you are in health and well.
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