My ongoing Fibre saga

Cue party hats and balloons! It’s been a long and tortuous process with many a false start but finally, yes finally, we received confirmation that Fibre was available in the Domaine.

Overcome with excitement, we made an appointment at our local Cap 3000 Orange shop and found a(nother) very helpful assistant. In only two hours, we had our new iPhones, a new contract and an appointment for Fibre to be connected. We were happy bunnies!

We’d chosen the first available date for the installation, Good Friday – not a Bank Holiday in France. We’d opted for the 08:00 – 11:00 am slot. Not that we were expecting anyone at 08:00, we knew the engineer would have to deal with any emergencies first, and assumed he’d arrive around 11:00.

I’d already confirmed the appointment, twice, but started to get twitchy as 11:00 approached and passed. I received a call from Orange Ground Control, our technician would be with us shortly. However, they were unable to define how long was « shortly ». Evidently, our lone technician was having a particularly taxing morning but would be with us soon.

Just before midday he rang to say he’d be with us after lunch ie at 14:00. He arrived on the dot of 14:00 and ferreted around in the cupboard on our communal landing to feed through the fibre cable to the office. It was relatively easy to feed the cable through to the entrance hall but no further. No, that’s not true. It would go further but it wouldn’t go to our chosen destination. I even had him try it in reverse ie from the office out, but to no avail. He left us empty handed and Fibreless.

Of course, we had hoped Orange might send us the engineer who had fitted our WiFi extenders, but no, it wasn’t him. Instead, this one kept telling us that he didn’t know how to connect them up to the Fibre service. Not particularly auspicious as I’d advised about the extenders and even named the technician who’d fitted them when we’d made the appointment. I then had the job of explaining to Orange Ground Control why Fibre had failed us.

Luckily, I still had another trick up my sleeve. I contacted the business branch of Orange responsible for fitting the WiFi extenders and explained my dilemma in detail. An inspection visit was booked and within what seemed like next to no time this engineer had correctly identified the problem and come up with two solutions. It appeared that our electician, as a short cut, had run the telephone line through the same channel as the electricity cable, an ill-advised move. Although it was possible to feed the Fibre cable through the same conduit, the presence of the electric current would probably interfere with the Fibre service, meaning it would be a sub-optimal solution.

The alternative, and naturally more expensive one, relied upon the Fibre and Liveboxes, plus another extender, sitting discretely behind the storage in the entrance hall, feeding left and right to my existing extenders. This solution has the added advantage of giving me WiFi throughout the entire apartment and Orange TV and CANAL Plus to both televisions. It was a win-win all round!


Fibre Frustration

In our town we live just about as far as you can get from the Orange internet connection consequently our unlimited broadband service has its limitations. For example, when we watch television over the internet it uses most of our available capacity so the laptops and iPads grind exceedingly slow, if at all.

In addition, I believe I may have mentioned that our WiFi service, thanks to our reinforced concrete walls, barely extends beyond the office. Two, recently fitted, very expensive, top-of-the-range, all singing all dancing extenders mean we now have greater coverage but not, of course, if we’re also watching the television.

We have patiently been waiting the arrival of the panacea for all our internet woes – FIBRE. Again, we seem to be the last people scheduled to get it in our town. Everyone else we know has got it. There was a brief flurry of excitement before Christmas, when a notice from Orange on the front door of the building announced the arrival of FIBRE and advising the work would be completed in a few days. Hallelujah!

Quicker than a rat up a drainpipe, I’d booked us an appointment with the Orange Pro advisor at the Cap 3000 shopping centre. We could barely contain our excitement – I know we need to get out more!

Our hopes were cruelly dashed. Yes, there is now a FIBRE connection to our building but it’ll be another six months until we can finally access the service. It appears that they first have to negotiate with the other internet providers to the building and connect them.

What’s the point in being Orange throughout, if everyone else then gets preference? No one could provide a satisfactory response to my question. Maybe they thought I was being rhetorical?

To make matters worse, Orange keep rubbing salt into the wound by emailing us weekly telling us FIBRE will soon be with us. Sadly, just not soon enough!

Orange hell

Having been away for over a month, it was good to have a few days on my own to tackle the inevitable pile of work, including housework, which had built up during our absence. It was all going splendidly. I’d invoiced everyone; cleared the administrative backlog; I had washed, ironed and put away all our holiday clothes; I’d cleaned and vacuumed; and, was starting to feel all was well in my world, until the internet went down.

It was 22:00 so I rebooted and got the internet back but the WiFi didn’t work, at all. Hoping matters would resolve themselves overnight, I went to bed. Sadly, there was no change the following morning. I have Orange Pro which promises to sort out any problems within 24 hours. I rang my local techies whose help desk number I’d gotten while we were having the WiFi service extended (at great expense) and left a message on their answer phone. Not a good sign. As I was still within my three-month guarantee period, I also rang the installers, who are yet another branch of Orange.

Unfortunately, while the installers were very helpful, they didn’t have any technicians available until Monday. However, they were going to contact the local techies to try to organise something for either this afternoon or, at worst, tomorrow morning! This saved me from going through the Orange system where the likelihood of speaking to another human being is under 10% I promised not to leave the premises.

I was just grateful that I didn’t have to cope with my beloved who goes apocalyptic when the WiFi goes down. It fortunately doesn’t happen too often and I always have to deal with the fall out.

I have learnt that the best way to deal with these situations is plenty of deep breathing to maintain my cool. I work on the basis they’re more likely to help the polite ones rather than angry customers. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’d do. Meanwhile, what’s a girl to do without any internet?

Of course, I’d already tackled all the obvious jobs and it was now way too hot to think about cleaning out the cupboards on the terrace, or indeed cleaning the terrace or the windows. Jobs best saved for when the mercury dips well below 30C. I couldn’t even catch up on the television programmes I’d missed while away, or watch current programmes, because our service is delivered – yes, you’ve guessed it – via the internet.

I looked on my very long list of “to do” jobs and they either all required the internet or it was far too hot to undertake them. I didn’t even have a good book to read, though I suppose I could continue cataloguing my ever-growing collection of cookery books. In the end I decide to catch up with an old friend and then have lunch. I had intended to go food shopping this morning so it was slim pickins’ but I manage to pull together a salad.

During lunch, the help desk rings to say a technician will be with me this afternoon. I break out the bunting. After lunch I go into the office and once more reboot the WiFi, more in hope than expectation, and it works. Hurrah, I’m back in the land of the living. The technician who was going to visit rings to say he’ll monitor my line from afar and visit if there are any further problems. He confirms there was an issue with the WiFi for the whole town from last night, but it has now been resolved. Well, that’s a relief. My Orange hell was nowhere near as bad as anticipated and I had used the down time wisely.