As with all developed countries France also relies heavily on having excellent communications capabilities and therefore pays particular attention to the different types of communication networks it possesses. It possesses a variety of ways by which it communicates locally and abroad.
In 2009, there were over 36 million telephone users with over 35 million users living in metropolitan France in the same year. The telephone system is highly sophisticated and consists mainly of an extensive cable and microwave radio relay system that employs the fiber-optic cable which is connected directly to the satellite system. France’s international link is adequately covered by the use of 5 antennas – 2 for India and the other 3 for the Atlantic Ocean. It also utilizes HF radiotelephone link with more than 20 countries.
A total of 7 radio national networks operate in France comprising France Inter (Radio France which provides a general variety of programs; France info providing a 24 hour news and information service; France Culture dishes out information on art, culture, science, philosophy and the like; France Musique specializes in classical music and jazz; France Bleu connects and provides programs for regional stations; FIP offers a wide range of music, hip hop, jazz, rock, blues and other music genres. The last national network, Le Mouv’ provides pop music targeting mainly the young population.
Prior to 2012, the people of France enjoyed watching television using the analog viewing system. The system however gradually gave way to digital viewing and it was then projected that by 2012, 95% of the metropolitan population would adapt their sets to digital viewing. The projection was largely accurate. Changes to digital TV started in 2005 with the introduction of Pay TV channels using the MPEG-4. Changes continued and by 2008, only 34% of the French population was using analog TV as the only reception mode. Adaptations persisted and France Télé Numérique was created to help people switch from their analogue TV to digital TV.
France also provides an internet service to its people, having been allocated the internet country code: fr. According to 2000 figures, the country has 62 internet service providers. It also accommodates 15 million internet hosts with the bulk located in metropolitan France. There are an astounding 45.262 million internet users with just over 44 million living in the metropolitan areas, according to 2009 figures.
France holds its own in the mobile department having the 4 mobile networks of Orange, SFR, Bouygues, Télécom and Free. According to 2009 figures, there was a total of more than 60 million users of cellular phones in France with just over 50 million in metropolitan France. The numbers are not far removed from a population of just over 60 million people and also bespeak of the wealth and technological sophistication of the country. The satellite telecommunications system is under the effective control of TELECOM 1 (TC1) which provides high speed data transfers between different departments of subscribing companies. France’s overseas departments are also provided conventional links for facilitating communications.
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