Orange France creates nationwide community Wi-Fi network

orange france wifi sharing

I received an email last month from Orange France telling me that I will soon be able to take advantage of Wi-Fi everywhere in France and the Reunion island because I am a subscriber to their fiber-to-the-home service and in possession of an Orange Livebox Wi-Fi router that will soon be turned on to Wi-Fi sharing. Orange will allow me to turn off Wi-Fi sharing, but that would mean that I could not take advantage of other Orange subscribers’ networks.

This is the same model that FON followed many years ago when it sold FON access points to many people. Unfortunately, FON did not succeed in turning the world into a giant community Wi-Fi sharing network because the access points were not that easy to set up. I know many would-be Foneros who have FON Wi-Fi access points gathering dust in their cabinets. What the cable companies in the US have done (see Cable WiFi Alliance allows customers to roam on Wi-Fi networks) and what French operators and other carriers are doing, which FON failed to accomplish, is to make it automatic and therefore, terribly easy to share a Wi-Fi connection.

The Orange Wi-Fi service is already activated in our building: check out the networks visible on my Wi-Fi network list below. You see the network called “orange”. That is the Orange community Wi-Fi network that Orange subscribers can gain access to when they are away from their homes. Orange subscribers who turn off Wi-Fi sharing will not be able to use other people’s networks. I have seen the “orange” network everywhere in Paris and I’ve seen SFR’s and Free’s as well.

orange wifi

NOTE: See the “Free Wifi” signal above? It does not mean free Wi-Fi as in free beer. It is the community Wi-Fi network of Iliad/Free, the fourth mobile operator in France. Like Orange, it uses its subscribers’ access points to create Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere.

Here is the original message (in French) sent to me by Orange, follow by my translation:

Orange vous propose son service de wifi partagé


Nous avons le plaisir de vous annoncer que le wifi partagé d’Orange (1) se déploie de manière progressive en France métropolitaine et à La Réunion. Vous faites partie des clients qui bénéficieront prochainement de ce service. Le wifi partagé vous permettra de bénéficier et de faire bénéficier de l’accès à Internet sur le réseau wifi d’Orange, votre Livebox devenant un hotspot de notre réseau.

Notre réseau Wi-Fi s’enrichit progressivement des Livebox de nos clients. Votre Livebox basculera automatiquement en mode wifi partagé. Cela n’aura aucune incidence sur les performances de vos services.

Vous recevrez, le mois prochain, un nouvel e-mail qui vous confirmera la mise en service du wifi partagé et qui vous précisera, en détail, comment l’activer ou le désactiver dans votre espace client.

Vous pourrez également retrouver la carte des hotspots disponibles grâce à l’application wifi d’Orange. Vous aurez la possibilité de ne pas apparaître sur cette carte en cliquant ici.

Orange introduces shared Wi-Fi service


We have the pleasure to inform you that Orange’s shared Wi-Fi service is being deployed throughout France and the Reunion island. You are among those who will benefit shortly from this service. Shared Wi-Fi lets you benefit from access to the Internet via the Orange Wi-Fi network, your Livebox will become a hotspot on our network.

Our Wi-Fi network is progressively being enhanced by the Liveboxes of our customers. Your Livebox will automatically switch to shared Wi-Fi mode. This will not affect the performance of the services on your network.

Next month, you will receive a new email which will confirm the start of the shared Wi-Fi service and will describe in detail how to activate or deactivate it in your client account management page.

You can also find a map of available hotspots through Orange Wi-Fi’s app. You have the option not to appear on the map by clicking here.

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