02 December 2014

Tous connectés

We got a nice surprise from the local authorities a couple of weeks ago, and we got the first effects of that news yesterday. At least I think it was just a first installment. We'll see this winter if more changes are coming our way.

Yesterday morning I was composing my blog post when it occurred to me that everything was zipping along at a much brisker clip than I was used to. I stopped what I was doing and ran the Ookla speed test to see how fast our internet connection was running. When I measured the download speed of our connection, it came in at 8.7 Mbps (Megabits per second). I'm getting the same results this morning. I wonder how that compares to the internet connections all you reading this have chez vous.

The photos here are some more autumn scenes from the Renaudière vineyard outside Saint-Aignan.

Before yesterday, our download speed was more like 2.2 Mbps, so the download speed has quadrupled. The surprise we got a few weeks ago was in a newsletter from the powers that be in Blois, the administrative capital (préfecture) of our "county" (département). Reading the latest edition of Loir&Cher Info, we learned that the department council had launched an initiative to bring fiber optics internet lines to 20 of the villages in the area that were the least well served when it came to the internet. Our village is one of the 20.

In all, 80 kilometers (50 miles) of fiber optic cables are being laid in the Loir-et-Cher, a département covering some 6,000 square kilometers (about 2,500 square miles) with a population of 330,000. This is one of the most rural and agricultural areas in northern France. Blois, the biggest town, has a population of just 50,000, and the two other large(ish) towns are Romorantin and Vendôme (each with about 17,000 inhabitants). The rest of us live in really small towns and villages. In Saint-Aignan, we first got broadband internet in 2003, just four or five months after we moved here. The download speed (débit) was just 1 Mbps back then.

The article says that virtually everybody who lives in one of the 20 towns and villages that are soon to get fiber optic connections will enjoy download speeds of about 20 Mbsp by early next year. That would be a 10x improvement in the previous speed of our connection. I hope it is true. I'm not sure why we are suddenly getting 8.7 Mbps, but I'm pretty happy about it.


  1. Result of the Eurovision OOOOOK it's the Librarian Speedfest...
    Pong 78 ManureSacks
    Download 2.34 Muddledblips
    Upload 0.78 Mugglebloops

    Somewhat slower than you...
    by a long stick of white rock!

    We ran a test to see if we could get BroadOrchestra here...
    before we left the UK in 2010...
    Arrived and went to Grapefruit to get their PAYG service....
    only to be told that we were now able to get ADSL...
    and came away with a very nice white DeadBox...
    but, being 5 kilometers from the village hub...
    and the last but one on the line...
    things are not....
    "You are now [re]connected to the internet!"
    all that fast!!
    "Sorry! Out of cheese error!!"

    1. Tim, trying to decipher your message... I hope you haven't gone off the deep end. The only term I can't figure out is ADSL. What's that in Tim speak?

    2. ADSL...
      You don't read Pratchett then...
      Life is tooooo short to take it seriously!!

      ManureSacks = ms
      Muddledblips = Mbps
      Mugglebloops = The same [but in the opposite direction]
      stick of white rock = chalk
      BroadOrchestra = you should have got that one---Broadband
      Grapefruit = A form of bitter Orange
      PAYG = dial-up
      DeadBox = Livebox
      "Sorry! Out of cheese error!!" = what the computer at the Unseen University prints out just before it crashes...
      it is mice-powered.

    3. And you ask...
      "I hope you haven't gone off the deep end.".....
      gone off the deep end???
      I feel like I've been trying to find the shallow end all my life...
      I've been off the deep end so long!!
      Let's face it... I drive a 1956 2CV...
      that should answer your question...
      thanks for thinking of me!
      Keep taking the dried frog pills, Bursar!

  2. Thrilled for your speedy connection. As for us, a mere 7km away from you and our pokey speed is around 3.5.

    1. I wonder where our telephone switching station is, Keir. Maybe it's in Seigy. I thank our mayor for these developments over here. She's a go-getter.

  3. Wow you are all faster than us. Ours is more than pathetic Download 0.34mpm, Upload 0.1mpm. Now I understand even more why I get so frustrated!!!!! Apparently 97% less than the average French speed!!!
    Thanks for the good wishes via Leon. Hope you are both well Diane

    1. Hi Diane, thanks for the info. In the Ookla speedtest app, you can choose to get results in Mbps, Kbps, etc. I know other people who get very slow ADSL service because they are far from a telephone switching station. And I know some who live far out in the country who can't get ADSL at all.

    2. We got in touch with Orange today as it was sending us nuts. The said the maximum we can expect here is 0.5, they are sending a guy around tomorrow to check our line to see if they can improve it a bit. Guess that is the best we can expect from Orange. Better than no response :-))

    3. I don't think you should blame Orange. The problem is being too far from a telephone switching station. And that's part and parcel of living far from an urban area. We are lucky to have ADSL at all. Some dpn't.

    4. The guy from orange arrived first thing this morning and he has upped the speed from 0.34mph to 0.5 so we are more than happy they have managed to make a bit of difference for us. He says that is the maximum for this area, so that is good. We would never have bought a house in an area that had no adsl, it was one of our priorities when we bought in 2005. Have a good day.

  4. 30.39mbsp with verizon fios in mah hood!

  5. Interesting. I just tried one site that used its own telco server and received a response of 1.7 mb/s. I tried another that tests with multiple sites and 22 mb/s. I know ours is quite fast, but it is cable internet and not DSL that most people use here. If people don't know, that is a dedicated cable internet connection. Fibre is being rolled out here, ever so slowly and it is the English system, to the end of the street and not to the home.

  6. I ran the test and am getting 9.23 Mbps (of course, it's 5:30 in the morning -- I think I'll try again later, too). Pretty good! But, wow, 20 will be fabulous for you!

    Your photos are enchanting :) I had to stop and scroll back a couple of times to see that they weren't paintings. Wonderful views, and great eye you have.

  7. Ken

    On Fibre, it may be 20 Mbps to the Fibre node , wherever it is located in your neighbourhood, From that node to your house and the inside cable from the demarcation line to your router it is on twisted pair cables that may not handle the full 20Mbps due to the copper twists and the characteristics of said cable.

  8. Thanks Beav, we have figured that out. I wonder if the fiber project here is this far ahead of schedule. It was supposed to be up and running début 2015. Maybe 8.7 Mbps is all we can expect for the time being (however long that might be). Not bad, though.

    1. Either that ( I mean it being far ahead of schedule) or may be they are planning to run fibre from the node to the demarcation point, at the box in your house ( this could be expensive if they have to go underground or if it is aerial and parallel to the current telephone line, then it may not be that hard and expensive).
      8.7 Mbps is not that bad since you are not playing on-line games :-)

    2. I don't really expect them to run fiber all the way to the house. The Conseil Général's newsletter says: La montée en débit consiste à connecter à la fibre les répartiteurs téléphoniques les plus proches possible des abonnés. But it also says that ...le haut débit à plus de 20 mégabits par seconde pour la quasi totalité des habitants... will be available in the pilot towns very soon, including our village.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?