Spain is fairly well served by internet providers, though service can be patchy outside of urban areas. Shopping around is paramount if you want to get a good deal – many providers offer promotional prices for new customers, or waive installation fees for a limited time.
Internet penetration in Spain
According to Internet Live Stats, 82.2% of the Spanish population has access to the internet – 37,865,104 users in total. In comparison, Portugal has 67.3% penetration and Italy has 65.6%.
Getting connected to the internet in Spain
While dial-up internet is still available in Spain (and while it can be useful in certain circumstances – say, a short-term stay), it’s being faded out. You’re almost certainly better off getting a broadband connection.
In order to register with an internet provider, you must be over 18 and have an NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero – your tax number).
ADSL and cable broadband
If you’re living or working in a well-populated area of the Costa del Sol, you’re likely to be able to get ‘fixed’ broadband. Most people will buy a package deal from an internet provider, which will include a landline and internet connection (and, sometimes, television channels).
In addition to internet fees, you will have to pay line rental (for about €13 per month). You may also have to pay one-off installation fees or fees for equipment. Check your agreement carefully.
You’ll most likely have to sign a contract for a year or 18 months. Terminating the contract early will incur you significant fees.
Installation and activation will probably take around two weeks altogether.
Satellite broadband or WiMax
If you’re going to be based in a rural area, you may find that you don’t have the infrastructure for broadband – or even for a landline.
If this is the case, look into satellite broadband or WiMax. Both require installation of equipment (which you’ll need your landlord’s permission for if you’re renting your premises).
Internet speeds in Spain
You’re likely to find speeds of 10mbps (megabits per second) across Spain, as it’s the default offering from Movistar (see below). If you’re on a 10mbps plan, don’t be surprised if your actual download speed looks more like 8-9mbps – or even lower in poorly-served areas.
Most providers will advertise their speeds as ‘up to’ or ‘maximum’ speeds, meaning they’re not guaranteed.
However, paying out more for cable or fibre-optic internet could see your speeds soar. See ADSL Zone’s comparison page for a good idea of what’s currently available. Check your current internet speed here.
How much does the internet cost in Spain?
Here is a random selection of internet package prices in Spain from March 2016:
|Max download speed||Max upload speed||Package includes||Price per month|
|3Mbps||3Mbps||WiMax internet, landline||€40|
|20Mbps||1Mbps||ADSL broadband, landline and mobile calls||€38.10|
|40Mbps||4Mbps||Cable broadband, landline and mobile calls||€66.55|
|120Mbps||12Mbps||Fibre-optic broadband, landline and mobile calls||€58|
Mobile/cell coverage in Spain
As you can see on this interactive map, both 3G and 4G are very easy to come across in Spain.
Internet providers in Spain
The main internet providers in Spain are:
Most visited websites in Spain
(Number 10 is an ‘adult’ website, so I won’t link it here!)