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.
Cable Internet service is a good alternative to ADSL internet , but not all areas are covered.
Spain’s Internet usage has climbed dramatically in recent years. Spain had over 42,961,230 Internet users in Dec, 2018, 92.5% penetration, per IWS (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 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.
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.
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…
With rates and services being what they are in Spain - but without sanctioning or condoning it - wardriving can be very helpful.
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.
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 😉). 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.
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.
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
Information on general TV in Spain, English language television in Spain, including foreign language, satellite/Sky TV, digital, online TV and other options for expatriates living in Spain.
Information on both local calling and cheap calls internationally. Telefonica, Re-seller phone services, phone cards, and long distance calling from cellular/mobile phones.