Get 100Mb fiber connection today for under $100/month

I just got 100mb fiber installed in my apartment for $90/month. Not Cogent's 100mb connection for $1000/month to my office..and this isn't Verizon's Fios 50/30Mb (or more common 5Mb) Internet that is sporadically being laid all over the US either.

You see, I live in Paris, France at the moment and for the last six months, France Telecom, affectionately known as Orange, has been offering 100mb download and 10mb upload service for 40€/month. For an extra 20€/month, I get 100Mb up. At that rate, why not?

While I am currently living in a bandwidth Utopia, it took me a long time to get here. The fiber plans were announced in June of 2007. I ordered it a few days after - as soon as I got my new address. As is everything French it seems, the process was bloated with bureaucracy and blunders by the administration. After 6 months of waiting (my lease is 1/2 up!), hours on the phone and many failed attempts, a multi-cultural crew of four technicians was able to get the fiber running properly.

My previous connection through Orange was 20Mb down/1Mb up DSL connection so I was used to speed, however this is a whole new level. I can:

  • Download the 1.1GB full Xcode Installer in around 5 minutes
  • Download a 1.5GB high-definition 1 hour long TV show in 10 minutes, it streams almost instantly.
  • Host HD movies that I shoot on my server that play for my family and friends in the States
  • Put all of my MP4 movies online for playing with an iPod Touch or iPhone. Also my iTunes music library is permanently online
  • Download Linux distros and VMWare VMs quickly

It is really a media powerhouse.

Unfortunately, there are limitations. Because of the Orange Network routing policies, my 100Mb stops at France's borders. When I upload things to England, I only get about 75Mb upload speeds. By the time I get to the States, the speed is down around 25Mb. This isn't a huge problem for a couple of reasons:

  1. 25Mb is still pretty fast - especially as an upload speed
  2. its 25Mb per stream, so when I am torrenting a movie (legally, from Vuze for instance), I can still get darn close to the theoretical maximum downloading speeds when it comes from multiple sources
  3. I rarely need all the speed from one location.
  4. Big media companies are putting their servers around the globe (see Akamai) so that I can enjoy the full speed of my connection.

So, with this great speed at the hands of most of the French city-dwellers, perhaps Parisians will be known less for their breads and cheese (and strikes) and more for their absurdly fast broadband? Maybe not just yet - but check out the Speedtests that I got!

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