How good is the internet connection

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Corinna
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How good is the internet connection

Post by Corinna » Sun 15 Oct 2017 12:25

Hi, we are looking into moving to the p.o.

In another thread someone said that half the houses in the p.o. struggle with internet connection and also TV and landline.

Is this true? I dearly hope not. I have actually heard the opposite, namely that in France a great effort has been made to supply remote house with good internet connection. (We would like to buy a remote house)

How do you assess the internet connection situation?
best,
Corinnna

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 15 Oct 2017 14:00

There is no way of generalising. If you have your eye on a particular property, ask the selling agent for the details, and then ask them for the details that would allow you to check them, ideally both the Orange phone number and the GPS location. After that, it’s easy: if you can’t do it, it’s a big mistake to buy a “remote houseâ€￾ without working out how to suss out things in France. Almost anywhere in rural France is meant to have ambitious projects to make internet speeds better: you could ask at the “mairieâ€￾ (mayor’s office) of your chosen location. They are generally very helpful, but can’t always deliver.

As for TV, it’s again for you to choose whose TV you want and how you hope to get it:you can get French TV anywhere, either by aerial or satellite dish, but it’s lousy and possibly in the wrong language for you. Otherwise it will depend on your internet connection. Again, I’m afraid, if you can’t work this out before you get here, you are not equipped to live here. Many of us here worked it all out as we went along, before the internet, but it was hard work and often wasted lots of time and money. You have no excuse, if you try.

Can I ask you whether you have thought enough about this? You want to buy a “remoteâ€￾ house in the P-O. Some of them look nice, and they can be very cheap (but there are reasons for that). But think about the things that you might die from, rather than the internet or the tv: where’s the food near me by actual physical roads, or the bank, or the doctor, or a pharmacist, and what happens when there’s a metre of snow?

If you have got all that entirely worked out, I apologise. But some people haven’t.

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Post by Allan » Sun 15 Oct 2017 15:21

As Martyn says, you can’t generalise, but you can check any particular property. Also bear in mind that French Internet providers are now all offering 4G connections for use where a cabled service might not work. These don’t cover all areas but again, you can check on their web sites.

As for a remote property, you can find plenty of houses in the countryside away from others, without going any great distance from the main towns.

The internet is important to me and before I bought my house, I insisted on testing it. What I didn’t know was that when the wind blows, the old phone wires going to my house all surrender and I lose the connection. I ended up installing satellite broadband and now rely on a roof aerial and 4G.

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 15 Oct 2017 15:46

Allan wrote: As for a remote property, you can find plenty of houses in the countryside away from others, without going any great distance from the main towns.
Yes, but you pay for them accordingly. I have just spent many months dissuading a very old friend from throwing money away (which he doesn’t have anyway) on very cheap money pits from leboncoin. So maybe I’m just hypersensitive: but if houses seem attractively cheap, it’s because there’s something wrong with them so far as the wider public is concerned. Maybe it’s something that doesn’t matter to you now; maybe it’s something that won’t matter to you even in 20 or 30 years time. But on the whole you should think very hard, and then walk away.

When I was a taxman, I used to have a stock phrase which I could pull up with one of the function keys: “if it seems too good to be true, it probably isâ€￾

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Post by Florence » Sun 15 Oct 2017 18:44

Don´t look in the Vallespir, internet is notoriously slow here. Although I believe they are starting to improve it as far as the zone industrielle in Céret.

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Post by Webdoc » Sun 15 Oct 2017 19:17

I get 12+MB in Palalda which I believe is the national average. Mind you, as the village is twinned with the Marie Celeste mine might well be the only connection in town.

Corinna
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Post by Corinna » Sun 15 Oct 2017 19:46

thanks for all the replies.

thanks for the warnings, Martyn, :)) keep them coming because we would like to know as many pitfalls as possible before making 'THE MOVE'.

We certainly will not buy a cheap project. The remoteness does not bother us (we live in the sticks here in Devon, miles from anywhere) and want that again. But we will be able to pay for a house in good working order.

Our French needs some freshening up but I was able to read Camus in school, and I am a fast learner. Still, having to phone an internet provider in French fills me with dread. I hope they all have a chat function or you can do by email?

I am running an internet business which consists in talking to people on skype. At the moment I have a humble 2 MB here in Devon and that works just fine.
When you have internet through a satellite dish - is that stable? That would be mega important for my skype calls.
I googled 4G connection - that is basically through a satellite, yes?

One more question: what is orange visual? The house we will be looking at had that? Is that the phone or internet provider? Is there only one provider or many as in Britain.

thanks for answering.
best,
Corinnna

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 15 Oct 2017 19:55

Corinna wrote:thanks for all the replies.

thanks for the warnings, Martyn, :)) keep them coming because we would like to know as many pitfalls as possible before making 'THE MOVE'.

We certainly will not buy a cheap project. The remoteness does not bother us (we live in the sticks here in Devon, miles from anywhere) and want that again. But we will be able to pay for a house in good working order.

Our French needs some freshening up but I was able to read Camus in school, and I am a fast learner. Still, having to phone an internet provider in French fills me with dread. I hope they all have a chat function or you can do by email?

I am running an internet business which consists in talking to people on skype. At the moment I have a humble 2 MB here in Devon and that works just fine.
When you have internet through a satellite dish - is that stable? That would be mega important for my skype calls.
I googled 4G connection - that is basically through a satellite, yes?

One more question: what is orange visual? The house we will be looking at had that? Is that the phone or internet provider? Is there only one provider or many as in Britain.

thanks for answering.
A quick response: I probably can’t be bothered with the rest. If your business depends on Skype (or any sort of voice over IP), avoid satellite internet like the plague. The problem is what they call latency: everything you say has to go 35,000kms up to the satellite, and then come 35,000 kms back to who you are talking to: even at the speed of light, that takes time. And then anything that anyone says back to you goes the same way in reverse. It means small but very noticeable hitches in all your conversations: if it’s with your mum, she’ll let you off, but anyone else won’t.

4G is not satellite: it’s the best current form of mobile phone connection, in this case used for data, and if your place receives it hot and strong, it’s quick and has low latency. But it’s a matter of luck whether your (hypothetical) place will get it hot and strong, and there are different providers with different networks. Google will be your friend.
Last edited by martyn94 on Sun 15 Oct 2017 20:26, edited 1 time in total.

Allan
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Post by Allan » Sun 15 Oct 2017 20:23

Corinna wrote:thanks for all the replies.

thanks for the warnings, Martyn, :)) keep them coming because we would like to know as many pitfalls as possible before making 'THE MOVE'.

Our French needs some freshening up but I was able to read Camus in school, and I am a fast learner. Still, having to phone an internet provider in French fills me with dread. I hope they all have a chat function or you can do by email?
There are 4 main providers, they all have shops where you can talk them. Orange has a dedicated English speaking line. You can check availability on-line.
Corinna wrote: I am running an internet business which consists in talking to people on skype. At the moment I have a humble 2 MB here in Devon and that works just fine.
When you have internet through a satellite dish - is that stable? That would be mega important for my skype calls.
I googled 4G connection - that is basically through a satellite, yes?

One more question: what is orange visual? The house we will be looking at had that? Is that the phone or internet provider? Is there only one provider or many as in Britain.

thanks for answering.
Satellite internet is not suitable for Skype because of latency. 4G is a wireless technology using mobile phone masts and usually works well with Skype.

As far as I know, Orange Visuelle is a messaging service and nothing to do with an internet connection

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 15 Oct 2017 20:35

As I’ve said before, it’s always reassuring when Allan and I say more or less the same thing. He’s your man for 4g Internet.

Corinna
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Post by Corinna » Sun 15 Oct 2017 21:21

ah, thanks, already feeling better :D dedicated line n English? that sounds fantastic.

Do you know which of the providers is best for cheap international calls? I also need to phone all around the world (as back up for skype) - when my clients have weak internet). Here in Britain it costs me near to nothing with talktalk where I have 10 pounds a months flatrate. Is there something similar in France?
best,
Corinnna

Allan
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Post by Allan » Sun 15 Oct 2017 21:47

Corinna wrote:ah, thanks, already feeling better :D dedicated line n English? that sounds fantastic.

Do you know which of the providers is best for cheap international calls? I also need to phone all around the world (as back up for skype) - when my clients have weak internet). Here in Britain it costs me near to nothing with talktalk where I have 10 pounds a months flatrate. Is there something similar in France?
You really should look at the websites of the different providers, they all tell you what service they can provide at any address and what packages they can offer.

All of them offer inclusive packages, the cheapest is usually Free.

Their web sites are;-
Orange.fr
sfr.fr
free.fr
Bouyguesrelecom.fr

Bear in mind that the cheap packages are usually internet based, so you must have a decent internet connection to take advantage of them.

I wouldn’t get hung up over an English speaking phone line, most transactions are done on line and you can always use google translate to view a web site in English

martyn94
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 15 Oct 2017 22:16

Corinna wrote:ah, thanks, already feeling better :D dedicated line n English? that sounds fantastic.

Do you know which of the providers is best for cheap international calls? I also need to phone all around the world (as back up for skype) - when my clients have weak internet). Here in Britain it costs me near to nothing with talktalk where I have 10 pounds a months flatrate. Is there something similar in France?
I suspect that almost anyone has something similar, but I have been happy with “Freeâ€￾: if you get their triple play deal (phone, internet, tv), you get a small discount on their perfectly good mobile service, and most of their calls (from fixed or mobile) are free to the “developed worldâ€￾ (although you sometimes pay a bit to call mobile phones).

Free’s tv offering is pretty feeble, like everyone else’s, unless you want to practice your French on game shows.

The deal here is that almost all telephone exchanges are dégroupé, as they say: your chosen provider, Free in my case, has its own kit in the telephone exchange, and they pay the “historic operatorâ€￾, Orange/France Telecom, to take your traffic for the last few metres/kilometres to your dwelling over the oldfangled copper wire. You just pay Free, in my case.

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Post by martyn94 » Sun 15 Oct 2017 22:33

Allan wrote:
Corinna wrote:ah, thanks, already feeling better :D dedicated line n English? that sounds fantastic.

Do you know which of the providers is best for cheap international calls? I also need to phone all around the world (as back up for skype) - when my clients have weak internet). Here in Britain it costs me near to nothing with talktalk where I have 10 pounds a months flatrate. Is there something similar in France?
You really should look at the websites of the different providers, they all tell you what service they can provide at any address and what packages they can offer.

All of them offer inclusive packages, the cheapest is usually Free.

Their web sites are;-
Orange.fr
sfr.fr
free.fr
Bouyguesrelecom.fr

Bear in mind that the cheap packages are usually internet based, so you must have a decent internet connection to take advantage of them.

I wouldn’t get hung up over an English speaking phone line, most transactions are done on line and you can always use google translate to view a web site in English
Free’s technical people, on the rare occasions I have had to use them, (as an existing customer), pretty much insist on practising their English, even if it is not noticeably better than my French. I guess it’s because English is the language of tech-speak. But why should I be difficult?

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Post by Corinna » Mon 16 Oct 2017 00:18

thanks a lot - that is all great info.
best,
Corinnna

Webdoc
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Post by Webdoc » Mon 16 Oct 2017 09:48

Someone told me the other day that the English Orange helpline was for technical issues only and not billing enquiries.

I went to the Orange shop in person to arrange installation and, despite my moderate French, it all went very smoothly. It was helped by the fact that I knew how the conversation was going to go: "I need the cheapest package please, yes I know the landline comes included, no I don't want TV or a mobile thank you".

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Post by martyn94 » Mon 16 Oct 2017 10:29

Webdoc wrote:Someone told me the other day that the English Orange helpline was for technical issues only and not billing enquiries.

I went to the Orange shop in person to arrange installation and, despite my moderate French, it all went very smoothly. It was helped by the fact that I knew how the conversation was going to go: "I need the cheapest package please, yes I know the landline comes included, no I don't want TV or a mobile thank you".
I can understand people worrying, but anyone who can cope with Camus in French can muddle through here. It’s not like when I first came here, when you could starve to death if you thought that “une baguetteâ€￾ was “un baguetteâ€￾. Nowadays almost everyone has some English, or has a colleague who does, and they will want to practice it. Or at the least they are much more tolerant of bad French.

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Post by Allan » Mon 16 Oct 2017 10:50

Webdoc wrote:Someone told me the other day that the English Orange helpline was for technical issues only and not billing enquiries.

I went to the Orange shop in person to arrange installation and, despite my moderate French, it all went very smoothly. It was helped by the fact that I knew how the conversation was going to go: "I need the cheapest package please, yes I know the landline comes included, no I don't want TV or a mobile thank you".
As I recall, the line gives you 2 choices, technical and sales.

I haven’t used Orange for some time but as far as the technical side goes, their service was much better than the French helpline.

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Post by martyn94 » Mon 16 Oct 2017 11:24

Allan wrote:
Webdoc wrote:Someone told me the other day that the English Orange helpline was for technical issues only and not billing enquiries.

I went to the Orange shop in person to arrange installation and, despite my moderate French, it all went very smoothly. It was helped by the fact that I knew how the conversation was going to go: "I need the cheapest package please, yes I know the landline comes included, no I don't want TV or a mobile thank you".
As I recall, the line gives you 2 choices, technical and sales.

I haven’t used Orange for some time but as far as the technical side goes, their service was much better than the French helpline.
If you are really making “the Moveâ€￾, it’s worth considering how far, if it all, you want to use, eg, English helplines or English tradesmen (or even the English version of Google). In the short run it’s convenient, but in the not much longer run, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If you have a smattering of French, your real problem is embarrassment, and there’s only one way to make that subside. And all the more so if you are living somewhere remote, as I did for many years: opportunities for practice are much rarer. So go looking for them.

I only became less bashful, to the extent that I ever have, when I spent time regularly in a touristy part of Paris, and people kept asking me for directions to Sacré Coeur. I was quite fluent at telling them that I was just a dumb anglais, until one day I thought that it might be easier just to tell them how to get there. I can’t say that I’ve never looked back, but it helped.

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Post by Allan » Mon 16 Oct 2017 11:33

martyn94 wrote:
If you are really making “the Moveâ€￾, it’s worth considering how far, if it all, you want to use, eg, English helplines or English tradesmen (or even the English version of Google). In the short run it’s convenient, but in the not much longer run, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If you have a smattering of French, your real problem is embarrassment, and there’s only one way to make that subside. And all the more so if you are living somewhere remote, as I did for many years: opportunities for practice are much rarer. So go looking for them.

I only became less bashful, to the extent that I ever have, when I spent time regularly in a touristy part of Paris, and people kept asking me for directions to Sacré Coeur. I was quite fluent at telling them that I was just a dumb anglais, until one day I thought that it might be easier just to tell them how to get there. I can’t say that I’ve never looked back, but it helped.
You make a fair point Martyn but as far as the Orange helpline is concerned, it is staffed by intelligent people who actually answer the phone.

My French neighbour had a problem with his Orange line and I called the helpline on his behalf. The French line appears to be outsourced to somewhere in North Africa and manned by 12 year olds. Rather like UK helplines that are outsourced to India.

When I called the English line, my neighbour was stunned at how quickly they responded.

Having said that, I only have experience of calling them because the line was so unreliable. Since switching to Free 4G, I have never had to call anyone.

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Post by martyn94 » Mon 16 Oct 2017 14:11

Allan wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
If you are really making “the Moveâ€￾, it’s worth considering how far, if it all, you want to use, eg, English helplines or English tradesmen (or even the English version of Google). In the short run it’s convenient, but in the not much longer run, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If you have a smattering of French, your real problem is embarrassment, and there’s only one way to make that subside. And all the more so if you are living somewhere remote, as I did for many years: opportunities for practice are much rarer. So go looking for them.

I only became less bashful, to the extent that I ever have, when I spent time regularly in a touristy part of Paris, and people kept asking me for directions to Sacré Coeur. I was quite fluent at telling them that I was just a dumb anglais, until one day I thought that it might be easier just to tell them how to get there. I can’t say that I’ve never looked back, but it helped.
You make a fair point Martyn but as far as the Orange helpline is concerned, it is staffed by intelligent people who actually answer the phone.

My French neighbour had a problem with his Orange line and I called the helpline on his behalf. The French line appears to be outsourced to somewhere in North Africa and manned by 12 year olds. Rather like UK helplines that are outsourced to India.

When I called the English line, my neighbour was stunned at how quickly they responded.

Having said that, I only have experience of calling them because the line was so unreliable. Since switching to Free 4G, I have never had to call anyone.
I think there are two morals here. First, don’t buy your service from Orange (you’ll inevitably find yourself dealing with them if/when your local loop goes down, but I have not found them more assiduous for their parent’s service than they are for anyone else. Rather to the contrary: Free nagged them pretty mercilessly on my behalf when I needed it). And they still retain a tinge, like other outfits in France, of their former status as a state monopoly.

Second, I think that it can be genuinely useful to deliberately make life difficult for yourself in the short run, to come out ahead in the long run. How would I ever have known the French for “septic tankâ€￾ or “plasterboardâ€￾ otherwise? They weren’t on the O level syllabus back in 1966 (nor in Albert Camus, I guess) but they have proved useful to know.

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Post by Allan » Mon 16 Oct 2017 14:28

martyn94 wrote: Second, I think that it can be genuinely useful to deliberately make life difficult for yourself in the short run, to come out ahead in the long run. How would I ever have known the French for “septic tankâ€￾ or “plasterboardâ€￾ otherwise? They weren’t on the O level syllabus back in 1966 (nor in Albert Camus, I guess) but they have proved useful to know.
So you advocate calling a less competent helpline manned by 12 year olds with a long waiting time so that you can practice your French.

Sounds a bit daft really.

I do agree however, with the common sense of making an effort to learn what things are in French. When I bought my house we had problems with electricity and when I learnt French at school, MCBs had not even been invented let alone called a disjoncteur.

I have had lots of work done in my house, all by French tradesmen and I relish the conversations and learning the technical jargon but I deal with them because they are competent, not just because they are French.

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Post by Corinna » Mon 16 Oct 2017 15:21

thanks, guys, this is really great. I appreciate the advice.

We are very aware of the language barrier. I have done it all before as I am not British and know what it means to learn a language so that you can deal with everything life throws at you.

I start with reading children books - possibly on kindle with a translation function and then I'll learn 10 to 20 words by heart every day. That adds up to a few thousand in a year. Then I will watch easy videos/talk shows in French every day and will force my reluctant husband to at least an hour of French conversation every day. Add to this all the interaction witht the French people around you ...eh voila - francais toute suite :D
best,
Corinnna

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Post by martyn94 » Tue 17 Oct 2017 00:26

[quote="CorinnaAdd to this all the interaction witht the French people around you ...eh voila - francais toute suite :D[/quote]

But who are all the French people around you going to be at your remote house? I just had cows for 20 years: they were very pretty, but not very talkative.

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Post by sue and paul » Wed 18 Oct 2017 17:43

Corinna wrote:thanks, guys, this is really great. I appreciate the advice.

We are very aware of the language barrier. I have done it all before as I am not British and know what it means to learn a language so that you can deal with everything life throws at you.

I start with reading children books - possibly on kindle with a translation function and then I'll learn 10 to 20 words by heart every day. That adds up to a few thousand in a year. Then I will watch easy videos/talk shows in French every day and will force my reluctant husband to at least an hour of French conversation every day. Add to this all the interaction witht the French people around you ...eh voila - francais toute suite :D
Tout de suite...just being helpful :wink:

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Post by martyn94 » Wed 18 Oct 2017 18:15

sue and paul wrote:
Corinna wrote:thanks, guys, this is really great. I appreciate the advice.

We are very aware of the language barrier. I have done it all before as I am not British and know what it means to learn a language so that you can deal with everything life throws at you.

I start with reading children books - possibly on kindle with a translation function and then I'll learn 10 to 20 words by heart every day. That adds up to a few thousand in a year. Then I will watch easy videos/talk shows in French every day and will force my reluctant husband to at least an hour of French conversation every day. Add to this all the interaction witht the French people around you ...eh voila - francais toute suite :D
Tout de suite...just being helpful :wink:
But you were probably closer first time in terms of how it is said: French people tend to run the “tâ€￾ and the “dâ€￾ together , depending where they come from, or how upper-class they want to sound (yadda yadda yadda).

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Post by martyn94 » Wed 25 Oct 2017 13:58

Corinna wrote:thanks, guys, this is really great. I appreciate the advice.

We are very aware of the language barrier. I have done it all before as I am not British and know what it means to learn a language so that you can deal with everything life throws at you.

I start with reading children books - possibly on kindle with a translation function and then I'll learn 10 to 20 words by heart every day. That adds up to a few thousand in a year. Then I will watch easy videos/talk shows in French every day and will force my reluctant husband to at least an hour of French conversation every day. Add to this all the interaction witht the French people around you ...eh voila - francais toute suite :D
Instead of reading childrens’ books, you could start by reading the Georges Simenon “Maigretâ€￾ detective stories: all 50-odd of them. You can get them cheaply here

https://www.amazon.fr/Tout-Maigret-char ... ret+tome+1

It may seem expensive, but you get six in each volume. His French is pretty straightforward, and his vocabulary is notoriously limited, which is helpful to us. Perhaps because he was Belgian, but mostly because he wrote them all in about 3 days each. They are still very enjoyable, and you keep turning the pages.

If you want to practice your understanding of spoken French, and your TV has decent sound, you can get most of them on TV in a big DVD box set here

https://www.amazon.fr/MAIGRET-Collectio ... ds=maigret

It comes subtitled in Dutch, or possibly dubbed, (I don’t remember), but it’s easy to switch back to French.

A friend of mine swears by the earlier series with Jean Richard, and he has a point, but the “production valuesâ€￾ are less impressive.

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