We happen to pay a high price for living in a pretty, rural location. Our broadband speed maxes out at just under 512Kbps. That’s 0.5Mbps a second. In 2014, that’s a very high price – and we pay it to Orange. If you’re in the same boat, this may interest you.

We’re used to having narrow-band internet. Something faster has always been promised, but it hasn’t yet arrived. The latest news is that fibre optic is slowly creeping towards us, but it may be next year – or 2016 – before we are connected to it. We’ve been tempted by satellite broadband, but not enough to shell out for it. Living in a valley precludes us from accessing WiMAX.

Idyllic rural France, but where's the broadband?
Idyllic rural France, but where’s the broadband?

This is especially galling because we can see three neighbours (one’s just visible in the photo above) who have 18Mbps speeds and they’re all less than 1km from us.

Our nearest centrale is 2.6km away from us. ADSL peters out at perhaps 8km from a centrale, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d have a really fast line. However, it weaves its happy way from the centrale to us and just before it reaches us it veers off, goes up the hill, round the village, then back down before it finally gets here, by which time it’s knackered and is good enough for phone calls but certainly not for even small, streaming video files.

Dynamic Line Management

Then some friends mentioned Orange’s DLM robot and that they had requested that Orange remove it from their line with the result that their connection speed shot up … well, improved.

DLM, apparently, is an automated system for reducing signal ‘noise’. It’s a line supervision system that Orange apply by default, even if there isn’t much noise on the line to be supervised. They will remove it (and put it back on again, if necessary) if you ask them. Best of all, this intervention is free. Even better, you can make the request (either way) on-line at http://assistance.orange.fr/contact_dlm.php.

Beware, though: this may not work for you. All we can say is that we have seen two consequences to them removing the DLM robot from our line:

  • Our download speed has risen to an utterly spell-binding 1.25Mbps and our upload speed has positively soared to 360Kbps.
  • Sometimes – notably when the weather is attrocious – we get no internet at all. Nothing.

We are tolerating this for the moment. It may be too high a price to pay and we might yet ask for ‘the robot’ to be put back on. But it is a dramatic difference!

Eat your hearts out you city dwellers! This one’s for us country bumpkins.

The old and the very new

Spotted in a street in Auch this summer, here’s a wonderful conjunction of the old and the new: a caste iron plate in traditional French design covering a fibre optic wiring pit.

Ville d'Auch Fibre Optique
Ville d’Auch Fibre Optique

Auch has 30kms of high-speed cable, delivering 50Mbits per second. It will come to Trapeharde, we keep telling ourselves!