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Spain Internet: ADSL, Cable and Wireless

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Spain Internet: ADSL, Cable and Wireless

Cable Internet service is a good alternative to ADSL internet , but not all areas are covered."

Posted by The Expatriator

Tagged: telefonica, adsl, spain, technology, internet in spain, internet, wanadoo, isp, wardriving, ya

Information on Internet services in Spain, for expatriates living in Spain. Free Internet via dialup, ADSL and Cable modem services through various providers like Telefonica, Auna, ONO, ya.com and Wanadoo. Further information about wireless (wifi) Internet, and wardriving in Spain.

Spain’s Internet usage has climbed dramatically in recent years. As of January 2007, Spain had over 19,204,000 Internet users, almost 43% of the population (source). As for broadband (cable and ADSL Internet), this is still somewhat lower than the overall EU market average penetration (50.9%) and the price to performance ratio is lower too, making the Internet relatively expensive in these terms. Of course this is most likely due to the near monopoly Telefonica still maintains over Spain’s telephone lines, making it difficult for competitors to enter the market and difficult for you to even get your ADSL line at all, since you’ll have to rely on them to install a fixed telephone line service before your ADSL will work. This is changing however, but more on that later.

Dial-up Internet in Spain

The internet is free in Spain—at least until you get your phone bill. Local calls are not free (around ,06 €/minute with Telefónica or ,01 €/minute with Tele2). An alternative is to sign up for Tarifa plana. That means you pay a flat rate to the ISP rather than paying for the local calls. The rates depend on whether you include peak time or not (peak time in Spain is M-F 8AM - 6PM). The rates don’t seem to vary much from company to company. Ya.com and Wanadoo offer various rates depending on how many hours of peak time you plan to use. For example, Ya.com offers a 24-hour-a-day service for 20 €/month. Don’t use EresMas: bad service has been reported. When one person tried to cancel the service, he was told to send it by e-mail. He did so, and got a reply two days later: “this person is on vacation”. Also, I would recommend against Terra, Telefónica’s mutant offspring. They’ll often modify the mail server settings or down the server without warning. Also, their helpline is not toll-free!—a drag when you’re put on hold for half an hour. For more info, see the CostaBlancaExpats article on Choosing and connecting to a Spanish ISP.

Also regarding free Internet in Spain, several people, myself included, have cancelled their broadband (read: ADSL or Cable Internet) services with a company (in our case it was Auna) only to have been taken off of billing and forgotten about. They left their equipment, modem, router, etc, at the residence still connected, seemingly having forgotten to pick it up or disable the modem from their networks. Sometimes the craziness of Spanish beaurocracy pays off…

Cable Modem Internet Service in Spain

Cable Internet service is a good alternative to ADSL internet , but not all areas are covered. Try Auna or ONO. Sample fees for Auna: 35€/month, plus 120€ installation, if there are no special offers. Keep your eyes open for these special offers on billboards around town.

With rates and services being what they are in Spain - but without sanctioning or condoning it - wardriving can be very helpful."

ADSL Internet Service in Spain

ADSL Internet service providers in Spain include Jazztel, Ya.com, Terra, Wanadoo, Orange and others—but all are about the same. This is for 24hr/day internet access, plus you can receive phone calls while connected to the Internet on the ADSL modem. This has gotten cheaper now that the companies no longer send a technician to your house; they send you the package and you install it, including the ADSL modem and networking cables. Prices are around 29 €/month although recently I’ve seen bundled packages with Internet and phone service for around 20€/month - a great deal. You choose between a modem with USB connection (free) or a DSL router (Ya.com offers the router for 60€ or so, Wanadoo sells their router for 40€ or the wireless router for 99€). Note that actual incoming speed during the afternoon peak times can be far lower than advertised.

Note: reportedly, Orange is the only telecom provider to offer ADSL plus fixed line services to expats with only a passport and Spanish bank account. This means you don’t have to have your NIE, which is the likely scenario you’ll find yourself in having just arrived in Spain.

Wifi Internet Services in Spain

Wireless (called “wifi” and pronounced “wee-fee” in Spain) Internet technology is here to stay, and it’s taken ahold of Spain with a passion (Spain is currently ranked 10th in the world for wifi Internet usage). If you have a laptop or multiple computers, this is a great convenience at an affordable price. All computer stores sell the equipment (although prices and available brands vary greatly). I’ve seen wireless packages available with your order of an ADSL line for a very reasonable price. You pay only for the broadcasting and receiving equipment (router and network card respectively), and it costs nothing extra with your ADSL/Cable provider.

Spain seems to be getting into wifi Internet like the next San Francisco. Recently Fon, a Spanish Internet equipment manufacturer, announced that they would be partnering with Google and Skype to provide wireless routers for 5€ to the general public if the purchaser signs an agreement to ensure their wifi connection is available without encryption (easy to access) for a year.

So, thanks to this ongoing wireless revolution, wifi hotspots can be found more and more commonly in the major centres these days. Start at wifi411.com. If you’re in Madrid, check out madridwireless.net or wifi at Plaza Mayor. Where ever you are, try taking your wireless enabled laptop to your local cafe or bar and scan; you might be surprised at how common and easy it is to connect. Some cafes, for example one of my favourites, Lenon Café (in Barcelona), offer a fast, free wireless connection while you drink your coffee or tea. Other cafes like Starbucks offer their connections through partners that charge you by the hour (4.50€/half hour at Starbucks!). Also try airbites.com who have recently expanded to be “Spain’s largest wifi hotspot provider” (or something like that wink).

With rates and services being what they are in Spain - but without sanctioning or condoning it - wardriving can be very helpful. “Anything to avoid Telefonica,” as I’ve heard.

G3 Internet in Spain

Vodafone’s 3G network is now in operation in Spain, offering an Internet connection via technology similar (more advanced actually) to your mobile phone. Recently I saw them offering unlimited Internet via 3G (all you need is a little USB dongle or a PCMCIA card) for 50€ per month. That’s a darn good deal. The speed isn’t quite what you’ll get with ADSL Internet, but you’re looking at about 400Kb to 800Kb download and about half of that for upload - compare that to 512Kb/256Kb for your cheapest ADSL line. The great advantage is that you’ll be connected wherever they’ve upgraded their mobile phone towers to handle 3G, which they’re doing all the time.  You can check their coverage map for your area here.

No word on whether or not foreign, non-Vodafone USB dongles and 3G cards will work with this Vodafone 3G Internet, but I’d love to hear from someone who knows. Also note that your 3G Internet-enabled mobile phone will work as well, but in my experience it’s not as simple to use as a dedicated card or dongle.

Further Investigation

Wireless access to the Internet is here to stay, so if you’ve got an older laptop without a wireless card then it’s probably time to pick one up. Better to do so before you leave home unless you want installation instructions in Spanish. Almost all new laptops come with a wireless card, though, so you should be okay if yours is from the last two years. Check to ensure your laptop’s wireless antenna switch is “on” before panicing over having been ripped off.

Also be sure to check out Kevin Dillon’s article about Wireless Internet for a Rural Community

Last updated 14 09 2011

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Comments

If you'd like to ask a question for discussion, please mosey on over to the Spain Forum. See our posting rules and instructions here.

19/Sep/2009:
efkas@mac.com said:

Since the iPhone is available at 35 euro a month, unlimited internet (G3) access, 600 free minutes talk, no limit messages, this seems the ticket for me to get when I am back in Spain next week.

Frits

 
11/Jan/2010:
Tyler_D said:

Some very good advice.

I actually moved to a very rural area with limited connectivity and ended up using a satellite internet.

It's 2 way satellite internet connection, so extremely fast. I used a company based in the UK but they fit across Europe - http://www.broadbandwherever.net

 
28/Feb/2010:
Soltec said:

I've written an article regarding wifi leeching which can be read here.

http://www.soltecspain.com/documents/wifileeching.pdf

 
26/Mar/2010:
rajatsingh87 said:

Hello Friends,

I would be visiting Spain in May (Aviles in Asturias, Spain). Can anyone please provide me information on pay as you go wireless/wifi internet access.

Any information on charges/tarrif would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,
Rajat

 
13/May/2011:
graeme.radford said:

David - and for those others still looking, I know you can get satellite broadband in Spain with speeds of 10mbps now from: broadbandwherever.net Hope this helps.

 
26/Oct/2011:
miguel10delacuesta said:

Hi,

There's a very useful mobile internet solution, it's called tripNETer.
i booked this on my last trip to Spain. you receive it at your address in Spain (in my case a hotel) and from the moment you turn it on, you have a mobile WiFi at a very good price..
before you fly back, you have to return via post the whole thing.
i recommend you to try it: tripneter.com

It was really useful when i got lost, i used Google maps, or searching for information, checking when the train was coming.....

Thank you

 
26/Oct/2011:
miguel10delacuesta said:

Hi,

I tried tripNETer at tripneter.com
it's a portable WiFi/ mobile router which you can take everywhere in Spain, you'll have a flat rate WiFi connection where you can connect up to 5 smartphones/pc/tablets.

they send it to your designed Spanish address (hotel, your friend's place...) and you have to turn it on, and viol!, there's internet! before you fly back, send it back.

i really recommend it, tripneter.com

Thank you

 
19/Feb/2012:
Harlequin said:

Hi,

We set up http://www.TenerifeTelecom.com some time ago now and despite the name we also sell into the other islands and throughout mainland Spain.

Take a look see at our prices, you may be surprised.

Thank you!

 

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