Friday, November 3, 2017

Speeding it up, slowing it down

French Village Diaries, Internet speed it up, slow it down
Coming soon our fibre-optic junction box
Our French village is fairly unique in that we are just a small, unremarkable, rural French village, with no great frescos, vistas or historical monuments, situated seven kilometres from a small market town (with all facilities), and have less than four hundred inhabitants, but we still boast a bar, hairdressers, boulangerie/post office, library, small weekly market and active associations who organise social events as well regular activities including keep-fit and sewing. It is sadly true to say that not all French villages are like this, but having this sense of community is one of the things I love most about village life. However, links to the outside world are important too, especially communication links. How could I share my wonderful village life with you if it wasn’t for a reliable internet service?

When we arrived here in 2004 the internet was via a dial-up modem (remember them?) charged per minute and using the telephone line. The mobile phone signal was non-existent thirteen years ago, and isn’t much better now, but the arrival of broadband improved the internet, although with connection speeds sometimes as low as 0.2mbps there is still room for improvement.

Well, exciting news! Things in the village are quite busy at the moment and lots of the work that is going on is intended to improve our online life. Last week the telecoms guys were busy digging up the road to put in a clever junction box thingy that will (eventually) control our super-fast fibre-optic internet. Oh yes! Soon, the days of 0.2mbps internet speed – speedy it isn’t – will be gone for good.

French Village Diaries, Internet speed it up, slow it down
The arrival of the fibre-optic October 2016
The process however is as snail-like as our original internet speed. The new telegraph poles and fibre-optic cable were installed a year ago. However all they currently do is arrive, pass through the village and head off elsewhere.

French Village Diaries, Internet speed it up, slow it down
Fibre-optic arrives, but goes nowhere, just yet.
Their arrival has given a small improvement to our internet speed, some days up as high as 4.5mbps, but we have been promised more, although not just yet.

The junction box work has started, but is not yet finished and we know it will be March 2018 (or there abouts) before the new system is finally switched on, however we can wait. When it goes live we have been promised speeds of up to a stratospheric 90mbps, although somewhere nearer 20mbps is likely to be more realistic. 0.2mbps to 20mbps is 100 times faster than what we have had to put up with, so we’ll be happy with that, when it arrives.

French Village Diaries, Internet speed it up, slow it down road safety
Traffic lights in the village are usually a rare sight
No sooner had one set of workmen packed up their temporary traffic lights and diggers and moved on, another set arrived, but this time their work is being carried out with the intention to slow us all down. We may only be a small village, but our main road sees an average of 1000 vehicles passing through every day, and many of them do not respect the current 50km/hour speed limit. 

French Village Diaries, Internet speed it up, slow it down road safety
Creating a speed hump in the centre of the village
We will soon be the proud owners of four large speed humps, a new 30km/hour speed limit and hopefully a safer village for us all. This is especially important as almost ten percent of our population fall into the under ten years old age bracket, something else that sets us apart from many small, rural French villages.