France has the third-largest broadband subscriber base in Europe, a comprehensive DSL infrastructure and strong fiber deployment. Fiber will have a substantial presence in the coming years as municipal network builds conjoin with INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT - FRANCE established operators to extend services beyond Paris and the major urban areas. Fiber deployment has become more feasible in recent years. Spend-per-subscriber remains high, but operators can recoup investment by charging consumers for standard triple-play packages, as well as value-added services. A May study showed that IPTV subscribers were twice as likely to spend money on pay-TV services as consumers with traditional TV.

The success of IPTV has been helped by the lack of development with cable TV, which failed in the ’80s, leaving the country with only a fragmented cable infrastructure. Broadband via cable is only available to about 6.3 million households in France (about 10 percent).
Satellite was the first form of pay-TV to emerge in France, with Canal+ in 1984, and it is now the key broadcasting medium.

Telcos and cable operators offer competitive triple-play offerings, and some also offer VOD services, though the technology remains a nascent market in France. Telcos France Telecom, Neuf Cegetel and Iliad all provide quadruple-play offerings, and Numéricable intends to add the fourth leg to its triple-play offering next year. Overall, the highly competitive broadband market creates bundled offers that are available at some of the lowest prices in Europe – about $45 per month for dual- and triple-play rate plans.

By April, there were some 4.3 million households equipped with either a STB or integrated digital TV, and digital terrestrial TV was available to 85 percent of the French population, with penetration at around 40 percent.

France broadband stats

  •  Population: 61.4 million*
  • 53.1 million mobile subs**
  • 38.8 million fixed telephone lines***
  • 32.9 million Internet users***
  • 14.3 million broadband subs**

     • 13.6 million DSL subs
     • 680,000 cable modem subs

  • 7.3 million satellite TV subs
  • 4 million cable subs

Canal+ Group

  • Headquarters: Issy-les-Moulineaux
  • Largest satellite TV provider
  • 10.4 million total subs**
  • Wholly-owned subsidiary of Vivendi.

France Telecom (Orange)

  • Headquarters: Paris
  • Incumbent and largest telco
  • 23.5 million fixed line subs**
  • 6.3 million broadband subs**
  • 1 million VoIP subs*
  • 975,000 IPTV subs**
  • Investing in a national fiber network as part of its all-IP Next Generation Network (NGN).
  • Early pioneer in French VoIP market, launching its @llo VoIP service in 1998.
  • Serves more than 167 million customers on five continents.**
  • In 2006, Orange became FT’s single brand for Internet, TV and mobile services in the majority of countries where it operates.


  • Headquarters: Paris
  • 2.8 million total subs**
  • Markets through its retail business, Free.
  • Invested $1.5 billion to link its exchanges with a fiber network; the service opened commercially in October and is expected to reach more than 10 million customers by 2012.
  • Designed its own STB, the Freebox, to deliver Internet, phone and TV services.

Neuf Cegetel

  • Headquarters: Boulogne
  • Second-largest telco
  • 3 million broadband subs***
  • Began rolling out mass-market fiber program in late 2006; plans to pass one million homes by the end of 2009.
  • In May, launched “100% Neuf Box on Fiber” triple-play package.


  • Headquarters: Paris
  • Largest cable operator (99 percent share of market)
  • 4.5 million total subs***
  • Has passed one million homes with fiber; expects to reach 2 million by year’s end.
  • Formed in July after the merger of Noos/UPC France and Numéricable (France Telecom Cable).
  • 60-percent owned by Cinven.

* As of January 2007 | ** As of September 2007 | *** As of June 2007 | Source: BuddeComm