France is still subject to the digital divide. According to an INSEE survey, 7% of the French population aged 15 and over does not have Internet access at home and does not have a smartphone. Smartphone penetration reaches 90% of the French population. It is much higher than that of residential Internet access, which does not exceed 80%.
France is one of the European countries where Internet access is the most widespread and the cheapest. Thanks to Free on the one hand, which has been able, with its first Freebox triple play offer and its Free Mobile offer, to drastically lower the average price of subscriptions linked to telecoms in Europe. Then thanks to the investments made by the government for the deployment of fiber optics. There are now 29 million sockets connected to this network. Outlets that are located in commercial premises or homes. That’s a 20% increase in one year.
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Of course, this does not mean that everyone has access to broadband in France, far from it. Last September, the government promised that France would be covered at 75% before the end of 2021. At best, this percentage has been reached. This means that there remains at least 25% of the territory to be covered, corresponding to approximately 2 million households in sparsely populated areas. Areas where the deployment of mobile networks is not complete either. Hence a digital divide still present in France that ARCEP pointed out in November 2021.
7% of French people have neither a smartphone nor Internet access at home
And this is confirmed by the INSEE’s annual survey on household equipment in information and communication technologies. In it we learn that 7% of French people aged 15 and over do not have a smartphone or an Internet connection (low or high speed) at home. These people cannot therefore take advantage of the content and services offered on the web of course. And above all, they cannot access government sites to complete their procedures online (taxes, health insurance, job centre, etc.).
One of the possible reasons is the lack of connectivity in the area. Another is perhaps circumstantial: they have access to their work and that is enough for them. Besides, 7% is not very high. INSEE also goes into a little more detail. It confirms that the penetration rate of smartphones is very high. It reaches 90%while only 78% of French people have residential Internet access. 75% of French people have access to two means of connecting to the web. This means that 15% of French people only have a smartphone and 3% only have home access.
The INSEE study is very interesting. You can find in our columns two other articles which are interested in other teachings. First, it confirms that almost 19 out of 20 French people aged 15 to 29 have a smartphone. But who is the twentieth? Then, 17% of French people have decided not to answer the phone anymore, because they no longer want a telephone conversation.