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Internet in Spain

Introduction
Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world with nearly 45 million tourists every
year. All these tourists need a place to accomodate and with accomodation comes the
necessary means of communication. There are a variety of reasons why people need to stay
connected even during vacation or short visits. Here are a couple of them:
• Keeping friends and family back home informed.
• Staying in touch with business and friends.
• Finding local and important information such as phone numbers or good restaurants.
• etc…
Spain is not an easy country when it comes to connectivity. ..Sure, there are people out there
that can provide or lend you internet access once in a while such as the usual cyber cafes or
the internet lounge at the hotel, but it doesen’t feel the same like having your own warm and
friendly laptop or pc with you. Most people prefer using there own equipment with a good
reason. They have there passwords automatically saved, have everything already in there
favorites and more…
Spain is not an easy country when it comes to connectivity…
For this reason, most people will look for a more personal type of internet connection and
something which they better control over.
Whatever your reasons are, this blog will give you a little bit more information on how to
achieve this.
Your Internet Choices
In Spain, your choices are limited. It is up to you to see which connection fits best for you.
• Basic Dial Up Connection
• ADSL & Broadband
• Local Wifi Hot Spots
• Mobile & GPRS
• Satellite or Antenna
Basic Dial Up Connection
In Spain, you have the option to connect via an ordinary phone line to the internet. The
things you will need are:
1. A laptop or PC with a normal modem
2. A Phone line from Telefonica
3. A provider (A free one preferably)
Basic dial up is as it says, basic… the speed is average, meaning its only good for collecting
your mails and the usual internet browsing. However back in the old days, this connection
was the most famous of them all. The basic dial up is today still very commonly used. You
must now that Spain is a very rough country with allot of mountains and nicely hidden
villages such as Mijas. Some of these places cannot get Wifi or ADSL services and still rely
today on the basic dial up to keep there internet business going. Another reason is because the
phone company Telefonica has a limited number of broadband users and should you be left
out, you can only turn back to the basic dial up connection. Note that with dial up, you pay
for a local call, just like if you make a phone call. In other words pay as you go. You can also
opt for a fix price such as a Tarifa Plana, but this is not always available depending on your
provider.
Here is an overview of some providers, not all of them as there’s tons of them.
Telefonica
It’s given on CD and free on the internet; but the connection service and support can be
better. The only advantage is the tarifa plana. It served me during the beginning untill finding
out about gonuts.
• No tech support
• Local dial up number or Tarifa Plana
• Decent Connection stability
Gonuts4free
I really recommend this connection; its been usefull several times when my ADSL has gone
down and the tech support is great. I also loved the fact that I was able to use my cheap call
provider and charge the connections through them at an extra discounted rate. It involves
finding out a prefix from the provider and inserting it into your settings.
I really recommend this connection
• Multiple language support
• Local dial up number + supports cheap call providers
• Good Connection stability
Be sure to checkout there website or visit my dial up connection page for setup instructions if
you need
Website: http://www.gonuts4free.com
SpanSurf
After a while i heard of a local company called Spansurf. They offered a very attractive
service or replacement for the connection, but after trying to dial 10 times before being able
to get connected, I had to give up…
• Spanish Support
• Local dial up number
• Bad connection stablity
ADSL & Broadband
Since Telefonica launched its first ADSL and Broadband services in Spain, things have
changed allot. Business started to pop out of nowhere like if they have awoken from a long
winter sleep. ADSL stands for Assymetric Digital Subscriber Line; in other words “the high
speed internet connection”. Thnx to ADSL people are now able to enjoy there internet
experience how it should and if available in your area, should always consider it.
In order to obtain ADSL; you must know the following:
1. You need a pc or laptop
2. You will need a phone line
3. You need to know that most providers will provide the service on a 1 year or 6 month
minimum contract
4. You need to know that this is the fastest connection available
5. You need a modem or hub; either cable or wifi
There are many ADSL providers in Spain since this is considered the main connection, but
people should be very carefull in there selection. Some have a better experience with
providers then others, others never have problems with there lines while the on the contrary
there are people who have problems every day over and over with there connection.
Telefonica
My overall experience having lived for more then 20 years in Spain is to find a balance. We
all know that Telefonica is the monopoly in Spain and they should be our first choice in order
to try and achieve ADSL. Sure; i already hear people screaming and shouting in the
background and telling me there disaster stories…the fact remains that Telefonica ultimately
controls most of the telephone centrals in Spain, not to mention that the phone line is 99 of a
100 cases installed by them. There is no perfect provider, so we must say the good and he bad
things about each. If you consider an high speed internet connection in Spain and you use a
different supplier then Telefonica, then be advised that when problems arise, Telefonica do
little effort to help you. There support line is mainly Spanish, and when you are lucky and
struck Alladin’s magic lamp, you will be able to talk to a support techie who’s english is the
same like that of a person that lived 500 years ago. Considering I speak perfect Spanish,
dealing with technical problems proved to be quite satisfactory. Dealing with Telefonica’s
administration proved to be a disaster. Nonetheless, overal this was a positive experience for
many years.
• Spanish Helpline
• Takes approx 2 weeks to install
• Provides speeds from 1MB up to 8 MB
• Look out for special deals when they offer the router and setup free, which is not
always the case.
• Fair pricing
Website: http://www.telefonica.es
BT Arrakis
The first impression you get is obviously that it has an English name, however try to get hold
of a person that speaks english is a different story. Legally, this company is called Arrakis
and is a sister company of the BT group. Well; more like a far far sister in law…The usually
will give you a contract of 1 year with the option to cancel and pay 60 euros as cancellation
fee. My latest studies tell me that they have changed there internet connection speed and now
give the maximum speed that your phone line can support for the same price. This could be a
good deal for some people; but not for everybody ofcourse.
• Spanish Helpline
• Takes 2 – 3 weeks to install
• Provides maximum speed available
• Almost no special deals or pricing
• More expensive then Telefonica
Ya
Ya is from the German telecom giant T-Mobile. They offer very cheap ADSL solutions, but
the support is a total disaster, not to mention the connection is very unstable. In a period of
approx 3 months, you can expect to get disconnected almost 15 times for a good few hours.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
• Spanish Helpline
• Takes 2 weeks install
• Speeds vary on package
• Offers allot of special deals
• One of the cheapest around
Jazzfree
Jazzfree offered to be a nice surprise. They offer simply but affordable ADSL and with good
decent support. There are the occasional problems, but as with most Providers turned out to
very positive and satisfactory.
• Spanish Helpline, Acceptable English
• Takes 2 weeks install
• Speed vary on package
• Not allot of special deals
• Fair pricing
However, since some time ago, they seem to have merged with Ya.com. The old connection
seems to run smooth still.
Local Wifi HotSpots
Hotspots are most common in the more urban areas and bigger cities of Spain. If you are
staying in a hotel or are renting a small vacation appartment in lovely urbanisation,
considering asking the managers or people in charge to find out if they have a local hotspot in
the area. You will be able to connect most of the time free of charge or for very little pricing.
The downside of hotspots is that they are not available every in Spain.
• Ask the president of your urbanization if they have internet for the community
• Ask the hotel manager if you can connect wireless
• Look in the internet to see if providers have local hotspots such as near airports;
townhalls etc…
Mobile & GPRS
You can connect to the internet via your mobile phone. Having that said, the options are
endless. Here an overview.
• Connect using your pc and mobile using infared
• Connect using your pc and mobile using bluetooth
• Connect using your pc and mobile using USB cable
• GPS
• GPRS
• UMTS
• Live
The mobile connection offers a good flexibility in connectivity all over Spain and you are
also not dependable of a fix telephone line making you very mobile. The only thing to be
wary of is the stability of the connection and the costs involved. You may sometimes here the
usual stories on foreign television channels of people who visited Spain whilst on holiday and
when they returned to there country, a nice juicy bill was waiting to be opened in there
mailbox… Remember, try to use a local spanish sim card when considering connecting
through your mobile and not your foreign card. Fix pricing options such as Vodaphone live
are recommended, but be wary of the data limit. Make sure you always properly disconnect
and that you configure your connection to request various confirmations before establishing a
connection.
Satellite & Antenna
This is one of the least used connections. Connecting through satellite or antenna is also
expensive, but sometimes the only way to connect with civilization for people who are out in
the campo with no phone line or mobile coverage. Using satellite bidirectional can prove to
be a costly one to. Consider getting a radio phone first or TRAC phone and try using dial up
or GRPS through the TRAC before going towards an satellite or antenna installation.
Hopefully this has given you a bit of information about how things work in Spain.
Remember, there are many more providers out there and we can mention or comment on all
of them, but that this is not the point of that introduction. Its important you know your
options and that you should plan everything before configuring any sort of internet access.