This article will help you thoroughly select the best plan from one of France’s major internet service providers. Learn about the internet options available at your location and what to look out for before signing up. Let’s get started.

Main Internet Providers (ISP) In France

Until 1998, Orange was France Télécom, the country’s only phone company. In 2022, there are many internet providers in France, and I recommend you choose one of the four main ones.

  • orange
  • free
  • SFR
  • bouygues

Sosh (an Orange sub-brand) and Red by SFR (an SFR sub-brand) are two low-cost internet providers to consider:

  • Sosh
  • Red by SFR

Regular Internet Providers vs. Low Cost Providers In France

The main differences between regular and low-cost internet providers in France are the commitment period and customer service. The internet connection quality is the same because low-cost providers use the same lines as regular providers.

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Engagement d’un An (One-Year Commitment Period)

The majority of regular internet providers in France offer a one-year contract. The commitment period is limited to two years by law. You cannot change ISPs during the commitment period unless you pay for the remaining months.

Internet service plan with a one-year commitment is free. On the other hand, low-cost internet providers in France, such as Sosh and Red by SFR, typically do not require any commitment period because they are sans engagement (no contract). You can cancel your subscription at any time. It is worth noting that traditional internet service providers now provide some no-contract plans (no-commitment).

Service Client (Customer Service)

Customer service from low-cost companies is typically inferior to that of mainstream providers. For the first two months, Red by SFR provided phone customer service. After that, you must contact them via their mobile application. This isn’t a problem if you’re already used to chatting online.

Are You Eligible For Fiber Optic?

Because fiber optic internet is the preferred internet access, your first step should be determining whether fiber optic is available in your area. Because this information changes (almost) daily, the best way to find out is to use the internet provider’s eligibility tests directly. Click on the internet provider’s logo to access the fiber-optic internet eligibility test page.

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Fiber eligibility tests from French ISPs:

  • Free
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Bouygues
  • Sosh
  • RED

The Best Internet Provider In France

The ideal internet provider in France is the one who offers the best service for your specific location. Even though fiber optic internet is being actively developed throughout the country, some rural areas in France do not yet have access to fiber optic internet.

Suppose you are not eligible for internet services like fiber optic internet (don’t worry, it will come to you!). In that case, you must determine which technologies and internet service providers are available at your location. The majority of homes in France are ADSL-capable (DSL). I recommend that you use this DegroupTest eligibility test.

Select Particulier (private) or Professionnel (professional), enter your address in the first field, and then click Start the test. You are free to leave the email field blank. The results will assist you in deciding which French internet provider to select.

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Analyzing Your Results

My results show that only ADSL and 4G are available at my location. One critical piece of information is that my ADSL internet connection cannot exceed 2.8 Mbps (DSL). If I lived closer to the nearest noeud de raccordement (phone company switch), I might be able to get up to 12 Mbps with ADSL. Given my results, a good 4G connection would justify purchasing a 4G Box rather than using DSL, as 2.8 Mbps is relatively low.

The following section of the results page lists all available internet providers and their technology, speed, and plans at your address. If you’re interested in DSL, scroll down to the ADSL section to find the nearest Noeud de Raccordement (phone company’s switch) and a list of providers.

Continue to scroll down. The 4G section displays the name of the nearest 4G or 4G+ antenna and the distance from your address for each internet provider. The final section at the bottom of the page displays a map of 4G antennas and noeuds de raccordements, or NRAs. To view the details, click on the antenna or NRA.

Because fiber optic internet is being developed rapidly, fiber optic may appear as indisponible (unavailable) in your results even if it is available to you. Before choosing a plan, use one of the French internet providers’ tests to determine your eligibility for fiber optic.

Pick Your Plan

You can choose a plan from the DegroupTest results page by clicking on Voir Les Offres now that you have decided which internet providers and technologies are available in your area.

Several internet plan comparison websites are also available, such as the ones listed below.

  • Echosdunet
  • Zoneadsl
  • edcom
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What’s In A Box?

In France, you can get fiber optic, DSL, and 4G internet access through une Box internet (in French), which is lent to you by your internet provider (usually for free). A Box acts as a modem and a router by transmitting Wi-Fi signals throughout your home. Internet providers in France use fancy names for their equipment. Bouygues has a series of Bbox plans.

  • Internet plans from Bouygues are named Bbox
  • While Free offers different models of Freebox.
  • Internet plans from Free are named Freebox
  • Orange packages its equipment as Livebox.
  • Internet plans from Orange are named Livebox
  • Red by SFR provides internet access via a Red Box.

So far as I know, Sosh is the only one who uses the French word boîte rather than Box. Sosh prefers the French word Boîte to Box.

What To Look For When Selecting A French Internet Service Provider

Setting up your internet is an excellent time to read the fine print before committing, as there are certain things to use as criteria.

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Duration And Price Of Your Contract

Check the duration of the price you opted for and the length of your contract. This is the case if you use a regular French internet provider (not a low-cost one). The following Bouygues offer requires you to sign a one-year contract at a monthly fee of 26.98€, which will automatically increase to 52.98€ after the first year. The keyword is puis (then), which indicates that the price will rise in the future.

Even if you intend to cancel after a year, you will pay the hefty fee once or twice before remembering to switch to a different provider. Internet plan with an automatic price increase after one year. Before you sign up, look for any additional fees that will be added to your monthly cost.

Equipment Rental Fees

Is the price of the internet box included? Most internet providers in France will lend you a Box for free, but double-checking ahead of time is still a good idea. Bouygues charges 3€ per month for Frais de location (modem/router rental fees) for its BBox Must, but these fees are included in the monthly price.

Keep the internet equipment shipping boxes because you will be required to return everything at the subscription’s end.

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Frais d’Activation ou de Mise en Service aka Setup Fees

Internet service providers in France charge a Frais d’activation (setup fee) that must be paid once at the start of your subscription. They are also fees de mise en service or fees d’ouverture de service. On average, they cost around 50€.

Frais de RĂ©siliation (Cancellation Fees)

In France, all internet providers charge cancellation fees, which are typically around 50€.

Several internet service providers reimburse cancellation fees your previous internet service provider charges. Both Red by SFR and Bouygues have such a refund offer (reimbursement offer).

A few paragraphs down, I explain in detail how to cancel your RĂ©siliation Internet subscription.

Frais de Portabilité du Numéro Fixe aka Keep Your old Number Fees

You can keep your previous landline number when switching internet providers. To transfer the number, your new provider may charge you a fee.

Frais de Raccordement (Installation Fees)

If a technician visits your home to set up your internet connection, you may be charged fees de raccordement. Nowadays, most providers provide this service for free.

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Data Usage For 4G Box

When you get a 4G box, your monthly data usage is usually limited to 200-250 Gb. Inquire with your internet provider about how much they charge if you exceed the limit.

Bouygues is the only provider I am aware of that offers unlimited data for a 4G Box.

Offers Triple Play (Three-in-one Packages)

Most service providers offer triple play (three-in-one packages), including internet access, television service, and one landline phone subscription.

So, your ISP provides your landline if you live in a zône dégroupée. Make sure that your landline provides free calls to the United States and free calls to cell phones.

Did You Know?

In France, calls from a landline to a cell phone are not charged the same as calls between two cell phones or landline phones. You will be charged extra if your landline contract does not include calls illimités vers les mobiles, which translates to unlimited phone calls to cell phones.

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Internet Providers In France For Satellite

If you live in rural France and can’t get a good 4G signal, you may have to rely on a satellite to get a good internet connection.

Satellite Providers In France

There are three leading satellite providers.

  • Nordnet
  • SkyDSL
  • Numerisat

Nordnet is a branch of Orange.

Satellite Installation

Satellite Internet access necessitates the purchase of a satellite dish and the installation of the dish by a technician. I recommend that you look into satellite installation technicians in your area because they may be able to offer you better prices on satellite equipment.

How To Cancel Your Internet Service

You must pay for the remaining months if you cancel your internet service before the end of your subscription. After your subscription expires, you must still pay résiliation fees (cancellation fees). Your cancellation is effective ten days after the end of your subscription. Each internet service provider has a different cancellation policy.

Cancel Your Bouygues Internet Service

Bouygues allows you to cancel online through your Espace client (user account). Within forty-five days of the end of your subscription, you will receive a text with the name of the point-relais where you can return your Bbox.

When you choose Bouygues as your new internet provider, you do not need to cancel your previous subscription because Bouygues can cancel it for you.

Cancel Your Internet Service with Free

Call 3244 and select the Resiliation of Your Subscription (information on how to cancel your subscription). A Free assistant will provide you with the address to which you should send your cancellation request via lettre recommandĂ©e (registered mail). 

Print your specific bon de retour (return label) from your client Espace (user account). Bring your Freebox to the nearest UPS access point within fifteen days of your subscription expiring.

Canceling Your Internet Service With Orange or Sosh

Navigate to Gestion du contrat, RĂ©silier votre offre in your espace client (user account). Within thirty days of the end of your subscription, Orange will send you an email indicating where you can return your Livebox.

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Cancel Your SFR Internet Service

Call 1023 to obtain the address to which you should send your cancellation request via lettre recommandĂ©e (registered mail). 

Canceling Your Internet Service With Red By SFR

Navigate to Nous contacter, Forfait options et services, RĂ©silier mon offre internet in your Espace client (user account). After your subscription expires, you have three weeks to return your Box.

How To Use La Poste Lettre de RĂ©siliation (Cancellation Letter) Sample

  • Go to La Poste Envoyer une lettre recommandĂ©e en ligne.
  • Send your lettre recommandĂ©e online with La Poste
  • Click on J’envoie ma lettre recommandĂ©e en ligne (I send my letter by registered mail online).
  • Use a cancellation letter sample from La Poste
  • Select Utiliser un modèle de lettre (use a letter sample).
  • Pick a cancellation letter sample
  • Select RĂ©siliations diverses (various cancellation letters).
  • Pick a cancellation letter category.
  • Select Offre internet

In the dropdown list, pick the statement that best describes your situation:

  • Abonnement internet Avec engagement (internet subscription with a contract or commitment period)
  • Abonnement internet sans engagement (internet subscription with no commitment)
  • Cas de force majeure (legitimate reason)
  • Dysfonctionnement (internet is not working correctly)
  • Pas de service après souscription (no service after subscription)
  • RĂ©siliation anticipĂ©e d’un abonnement internet (internet subscription cancellation before the end of your contract)

At the end of that page, click the Utiliser ce modèle de lettre (use this letter sample) button. Replace the information between the square brackets on the following page with your data (name, contact number). You can conclude your letter with a formule de politesse (closing sentence). Sign and validate, or press the Conserver un brouillon button (save a copy for later). The cost of sending a lettre recommandée online with La Poste is around 7€.

Can You Avoid Paying Cancellation Fees To Your French Internet Provider?

Most internet service providers have a cancellation fee exemption policy for motif légitime (legitimate reason), such as moving to another country. The following are the most common situations that warrant an exemption, but each provider has its policy:

  • dĂ©mĂ©nagement Ă  l’étranger (international move)
  • losing your job
  • being hospitalized for an extended amount of time
  • death (!)
  • flooding

Send your internet provider a justificatif (proof) that your situation qualifies for an exemption along with your cancellation request.

Conclusion

We hope our detailed guide helped you in deciding the ideal internet provider in France for you.