Mapping Broadband Coverage in France
Updated: Jun 21
National Coverage by Broadband Technology
Since France already achieved universal fixed broadband coverage at national and rural level in 2017, operators have focused on improving the availability of NGA networks. By the end of June 2020, NGA broadband services were available to more than two thirds (69.0%) of French households, following an increase of 6.9 percentage points year-on-year. Despite this progress, France recorded the lowest NGA coverage among member states in this year’s study. In rural regions, NGA coverage improved by 4.1 percentage points and passed 37.5% of rural homes but remained well below the EU average of 59.8%.
When considering networks which have a potential to deliver gigabit speeds (FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1), coverage grew by 8.8 percentage points at a national level and 6.1 percentage points on rural level. However, France performed below the EU average with a larger gap to other member states than seen in the previous iteration of this study.
On an individual technology level, DSL remained the most widespread service in France, with 99.2% of homes passed. Use of FWA technology is encouraged by the French government and offered by all four main French operators10, which reflects in high FWA coverage levels: France performed 28.7 percentage points above the EU average, covering 84.8% of households.
FTTP remained the most prevalent NGA broadband technology and recorded the strongest increase among technologies within the 12-month period of the study. By mid-2020, FTTP services were available to more than half (52.6%) of French households, following an increase of 8.8 percentage points. Cable modem DOCSIS 3.0 remained the second most widespread NGA technology with 27.0% of homes passed, unchanged from the previous year. As French operators focused on the deployment of fibre rather than upgrading existing networks, DOCSIS 3.1 remained absent from the French market as of mid-2020. VDSL is the third NGA technology in the country, covering 20.4% of French households, while upgrades to VDSL2 Vectoring have not taken place yet.
Almost all French households (99.8%) had access to LTE services by the end of June 2020. The availability is slightly lower when considering the average coverage of all LTE network operators: On average, 99.1% of French people could access LTE services, an increase of 0.5 percentage points. None of the French mobile network operators had launched commercial 5G services by the end of June 2020.
Despite a small decline of 0.9 percentage points, DSL remained the most widespread fixed broadband technology in rural regions. Compared to other European countries, France recorded one of the highest rural DSL coverage and performed 18.4 percentage points above the EU average. FWA services were available to 84.3% of rural households, which were the main beneficiaries of the French state initiative promoting FWA access.
VDSL remained the most prevalent NGA technology in rural France, passing 24.5% of rural homes, in line with previous year’s coverage. FTTP coverage expanded by 6.1 percentage points, which was the strongest growth seen among technologies in rural areas. FTTP coverage reached 18.4% of rural households but despite the progress, France stayed below the EU average of 24.9%. Cable modem DOCSIS 3.0 coverage stayed stable with only 0.7% of rural homes passed.
Regional Coverage by Broadband Technology
Fixed broadband coverage across French regions remained unchanged as the country has already reached universal coverage at a national and rural level in previous years.
Unlike overall fixed broadband coverage, there was a high degree of variance between French regions in terms of NGA coverage. Apart from the overseas department of Guyane (19.2%), Yonne recorded the lowest NGA coverage (27.1%), while Paris achieved universal coverage.
The following broadband coverage levels were recorded in French regions outside mainland Europe:
Data Tables for France
Note: The 2020 figures represent the state of broadband coverage at the end of June 2020. The 2019 (end of June) and 2018 (end of June) figures are drawn from the previous studies conducted by IHS Markit, Omdia, and Point Topic.
All restatements are highlighted in italics.