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When I decided to change my internet connection to wireless, I signed up for the Wanadoo Home Broadband package in 2004. With this package came the Wanadoo Livebox, which was basically the router, an adapter, filters, cables, installation cd and of course the instructions. I found the set up to be fairly easy, and to this day I have not had a single hardware issue with any of the equipment.
In June 2006, Wanadoo became Orange, and with this came an even better package for myself. Since I already had an Orange mobile phone contract, I was able to get the broadband package for free. I found the customer service at the time to be excellent, they changed my package and stopped my internet payments immediately.
I can only describe the internet service I have had from Wanadoo / Orange as excellent. In over 4 years, I have barely had any problems, with the connection or the hardware. Up until recently, I found the customer service to be excellent, however this was until they moved their customer support call centre to India. I recently had a connection query, and found it very difficult getting any sort of support from the representative on the other end. This has not put me off the company in any way, because I have found problems to be few and far between.
As for the connection speed, I find this to be very good, although this obviously depends on your location etc. Orange also automatically increase my speed, as faster speeds become available.
As a package, I find the deal to be excellent, the internet service itself is second to none, and up until recently I the customer service was also excellent. Thumbs up from me, even with the recent blip.
Wanadoo/orange are an ideal ISP for the average user who checks email and browses websites. They offer 8mb packages with 2gb,6gb and unlimited monthly usage limits.
However, it has been found that they define unlimited as 40gb. Not ideal for the heavy downloader but more than adequate for an online gamer. The fact that they advertise as unlimited then limit you to 40gb is something that brings to mind what else they are hiding?
The speeds are Fast, but if you have a problem you may have to wait a long time to get support.
The prices are a bit high compared to other competitors but "you get what you pay for". Once you've signed up you should receive the equipment in a couple of daysand the instillation is pretty simple step-by-step.
The recent merging with Orange has been bad news for wanadoo customers. I and several other customers have noticed that speeds have dropped.
I would have recommended them as Wanadoo but not quite sure if Orange Broadband will be any good from what I've seen. I fear that by offering "free broadband" too many customers will sign up and will result in overloading the network. Something which has affected Tiscali.
I would recommend thinking very carefully before makind a decision
My reasons for writing this review are for those British people that live abroad, and I believe that the addition of the information will help them in their decision of which Broadband to chose here in France. On many occasions, I am asked to advise, and even install broadband, or to check if someone's telephone line is eligible for broadband connection, and thought that put in a review, might be easier for those people who want information and do not speak French, to access.
For explanation to those who do not understand, Wanadoo and France Telecom are the same company.
Am I eligible for Broadband from my telephone number ?
Here, France Telecom have set up a rather clever gadget on their site, and only a very limited amount of French is needed to access it. When you enter the area of France Telecom's site that is headed with the words Haut debit (in other words, high speed), there is a box that appears on the right hand side of the screen where you are asked to place your telephone number and the number of the county in which you live. Your line is then checked to see whether it can obtain high speed internet.
Little by little FranceTelecom are working in the more rural areas of France to provide high speed internet, and what this gage does apart from tell you whether or not your line is eligible for high speed, is that it gives you an estimated date when they feel that the service will be available to your area.
So. I am eligible. How do I get high speed Internet ?
Here, there is a choice open to potential customers. If your French is limited, then possibly the best solution is to use the France telecom website to enroll. The reason I say this is because most of the options available to the public are listed clearly with photographs of what you will get. In rural areas, the Wanadoo package has not yet reached the point where television is available with high speed Internet. This is envisaged early next year, although of the packages that Wanadoo offer, I would say that the most interesting for a non speaker of the French language is the 8 Mo connection at 29.90 Euros a month, or the 1 mega connection at 24.90 Euros a month.
There is a standard charge of 3 euros per month for the Livebox, and what this means is that the Livebox remains the property of France Telecom and to a certain degree gives you, the user, the security of knowing that if the Livebox becomes defective, France Telecom will replace it free of charge.
For those users that do speak French, here the package offered becomes very interesting, as you can have internet access at the prices given above, and for an extra 10 euros a month, complete and unlimited telephone use to any telephone number within France that is a land line (as opposed to a mobile). Of course, you will still have to pay the normal line rental to France Telecom, but what it means is that your Telephone bill is limited to just rental and calls made overseas, and to me this was amazingly good as an offer.
Each package includes full 24 hour service help by telephone, a guarantee of the Modem (or Livebox) for two years, Parental control, a filtering of undesirable mail, and the possibility of 5 email addresses, unlimited access and space on the web to create your own website. The main difference between the two packages is speed of connection, and I opted for the slower speed of 1 Mega, and find that it gives me quick enough access, when compared with the 56K connection I was accustomed to.
Signing up is relatively simple, and the information that you will be asked for is common sense, like name, address, telephone number, etc. There is no need to fill out information on credit cards when signing up, because France Telecom already have your bank information from your use of your normal telephone.
How long do I wait for the Livebox ?
Waiting for the livebox takes around 10 days. This also gives France Telecom staff the time to do any necessary adjustments to your line that may be needed in order to give you high speed internet. No work is required within your home in order to make the internet connection work, so there is no need to stay at home in anticipation of the engineer calling, as all their work is on external telephone lines, rather than those used in your house.
What comes with the livebox ?
When the livebox arrives, it is indeed exciting, and here many people make the mistake of plugging everything in and hoping against all odds that the Livebox will magically spring into action. It doesn't. Opening the package that contains your livebox, there are a variety of wires, a strange looking object that France telecom describes as a wifi (bluetooth connection), and instructions for use with or without the bluetooth connection depending upon where your computer is and where you want your livebox to be. There is also a very important document with your livebox at the moment, which states that if you keep copies of the first three bills for your internet connection, they will refund the first three months telephone and connection to you as a bonus. It's quite easy to lose the pamphlet, so keep hold of it, in a safe place, because three months' free use is certainly nothing to be sniffed at.
Provided within the box, there are also ADSL filters or sockets, and these play an important part in your reception of the signal from France Telecom.
Here, the disc provided takes you through the steps that ensure that your livebox works. I would advise new users not to plug anything in until told to do so, because if you do, the installation will not work. Taking the installation instructions one at a time, following the pictures and diagrams that are clear to anyone even if they do not speak the language, works. You have the choice of which kind of connection you want, i.e. Bluetooth (at a distance) or USB and here I tried both, though was irritated with the silly flimsy Wifi connection sticking out of the back of my computer. I chose to go with the USB since I have plenty of them.
Going through each step from the screen, and reading the extensive instruction leaflets as you go is the easiest method, and you will be asked to type out the numbers that appear on the bottom of your Livebox, as well as quoting from the paperwork that has been sent to you from France Telecom your codes which are clearly marked, at the appropriate stages of installation.
So what does the livebox offer ?
When the livebox is installed, what you are offered is quick connection to the internet. The more complex packages offered by France Telecom include things like Virus control, although here, I enjoy the virus protection that I have and decided that it was right for my usage. When you switch on your computer, a small screen comes up onto your desktop, where you have easy access to email, the internet, your documents, adjustments, configuration and security, although the security settings are limited to parental control.
In the months that I have used France Telecom, it compares well both price wise and efficiency wise with other operators in France. AOL whilst having a similar price structure, have invasive software and a bad record of telephonic problems, whilst Free have a notoriously bad reputation for not being able to provide users with free telephone, and are charging people that connect to other networks, even though their phones are landlines.
It took France Telecom two days to get my free phone up and running, although they told me to anticipate 10 days. I know that it works, and have tried to make calls that fall outside the scope of the offer, and am told if this is the case. There is a slight bleep noise before the dialling tone that tells me that phone calls are being made via the livebox and are free of charge and the system has not failed me once.
I have only experienced one evening where connectivity was slow, and considering the scale of the works that France Telecom are doing in rural France at the moment, am surprised at the efficiency of their service. On occasions, I have had to call out technicians at friends houses where Liveboxes were defective, and I found the staff helpful and friendly, and enthusiastic in their work, and explanation of what was wrong.
Would I recommend France Telecom ?
Yes, I would. They offer a service that is the best available. Having tested my line on a website that the France Telecom engineer guided me to at a friends' house, my connection speed exceeds my expectations and is reliable.