It used to take 3-4 weeks to get ADSL or internet installed in Barcelona, but things have improved and the process is now much quicker. Movistar will connect your internet within a couple of days. I’ve included TV in this section because most internet providers include TV deals in their internet packages and it’s a great way to get UK and US channels, especially if you have fibre optic.
Internet, ADSL and Fibre Optic
These days you don’t have to rent your line from Movistar (formerly Telefonica) even if you go with another service provider for your internet. Every provider will usually include installation in the price.
Many of the providers insist you have a NIE before they will give you a service – including Vodafone. However, Movistar don’t require that you have an NIE to connect a landline and fibre optic internet. They do ask for a NIE for a package which includes a contract with your mobile though. But this means you can get online fast, even if you don’t have your NIE yet.
Adamo is relatively new in Barcelona and don’t yet cover the whole city, but if you live in Poblenou, Diagonal Mar, Port Olimpic and Sant Martí areas then you will be able to get coverage. Personally, I can’t wait until they reach Sant Gervasi because they offer 1000Mbps fibre optic internet (fast) for just €34.99 including VAT – that’s much cheaper than Movistar. Installation is included, as usual.
You can also get packs from Adamo which include your landline and mobile calls. Their website can be switched into English. Adamo originated in Sweden, but are now in Barcelona, Madrid and Girona.
I have used Movistar (formerly Telefonica) in the past for my phone and ADSL and they gave a good service. I recently moved flats and went back to Movistar mainly because of their fast fibre optic speed of 100Mb and their rapid installation time.
Back in August 2005 my ADSL took over a month to be connected, but this year I had an fibre optic connection within a few days from Movistar and it’s 100Mb.
You can phone Movistar for free from a landline or payphone and get connected to an English speaker.
If you want a fibre optic connection then Movistar is a good company to go with. Ono are cheaper than Movistar, but don’t cover all areas. I live quite centrally in Barcelona, but Ono couldn’t connect my new address with fibre optic internet, but new areas are being added all the time, so it’s best to check the coverage.
Pepephone are offering some interesting deals for internet (and for mobile phone deals which include plenty of data). You can order internet on it’s own (no need to contract a mobile) and choose your internet speed. They only seem to offer ADSL at the moment – not fibre optic, but the prices are good.
I used to have my internet supplied by Vodafone, so I’ve left the following information:
I had a mobile internet connection within a few days when I contracted with Vodafone a few years back, and the ADSL line was connected within two weeks. Using the mobile internet while you’re waiting for the ADSL to be connected costs the same monthly price as your ADSL package.
However, once my ADSL line was connected I felt that the service could have been faster. Vodafone also make you sign an 18 month contract rather than a 12 month one.
Unfortunately, when I terminated my service with Vodafone I did have problems with the company. In fact, this is a common problem that you hear of with many of the telecom companies here in Spain. After paying my final bill, plus a cancellation charge of €25 for the mobile phone contracted part of my account, the account was closed (or so I thought and was informed by Vodafone).
Several weeks later I received a bill for €9 for the temporary suspension of the ADSL line! This bill then trebled to €20 because I did not pay it. It took months of talking to Vodafone to try to get this resolved, in fact from May 2013 until October 2013.
I don’t have any experience of Jazztel (part of Movistar), but they offer very competitive prices. At the moment they have good offers if you change from your existing provider and sign up with them. The offers include ADSL, a router, free installation and fee calls to landlines and mobiles during the day. Prices start at €15.95 per month and go up to €31.95 per month (plus VAT).
Another telecoms and ADSL supplier definitely worth checking out is Ono. They offer fibre optic, ADSL, television, phone and mobile services and you can choose from various combinations to match what you need. Their prices are very competitive, and as one or two friends of mine have their internet and TV with Ono – and are happy with the service.
As usual all their internet services deals come with a free router and you can choose from 12Mb up to 100Mb with prices starting as low as €16 per month (check coverage first). Ono don’t cover all areas with their fibre optic service, so check this out before you sign a deal.
Orange offer very good prices for the ADSL packages, but in my experience (and that of a few other people I know) their customer service is very bad.
After initially starting my ADSL contract with Orange, I cancelled it because of problems and delays in getting connected. Their offer of mobile internet pay-as-you-go whilst I was waiting for the landline ADSL connection never materialised. When I eventually cancelled, Orange blocked the line for 15 days.
My problems with Orange happened over four years ago, so maybe things have improved, and it has to be said that their prices are good.
Mobile Internet in Spain
Both Vodafone and Orange offer mobile internet through their network. You need to purchase a USB mini router which plugs into your computer and service is available as soon as your contract is activated. Obviously the quality of the line is dependent on the reception in your area, but it’s possible to check this before you purchase and most areas in Barcelona are covered.
You can sign a contract or pay-as-you-go.
Online TV Access – IP Services
My Expat Network
Once you have your internet connection set up, you can use a great service called MyExpatNetwork to connect to either UK (including the BBC), American, Australian or Canadian television. I use the UK service and pay just £5 per month for a UK IP address which enables me to access the BBC iPlayer online from Barcelona. The US service costs $5 per month.
The IP is activated as and when you need it, so doesn’t run all the time. The application works on both PC and Mac, as well as tablets and mobiles – you have to pay for a subscription for each installation of the software – for each device.
It’s a very good alternative to installing a satellite service – especially if you have a large screen and a good internet connection.
UK service: www.my-expat-network.co.uk
US service: www.my-expat-network.com
Hide My Ass
Hide My Ass is a service which lets you watch restricted TV channels from any country by giving you a local IP number for your internet connection. For example, you can watch the BBC iPlayer even when you’re not in the UK. It works across all devices, so you can use it on your mobile, iPad and laptop.
The best thing about Hide My Ass is that they have one subscription which grants you access to all countries. They also encrypt your internet access so your browsing is secure and private. There are three payment methods: monthly, 6 monthly and 12 months. At the moment the cost for monthly payments is $11.52.
Free Wi-Fi Access in Barcelona Libraries
The libraries in Barcelona provide free wireless internet access to library members. It’s relatively easy to join your nearest library, so it’s worth doing, even if it’s just a backup plan for when your internet access at home goes down (it happens).
To join the library you need to show your passport and give your name, address, phone number and email address. You will then be issued with a library card. I’ve used my local library in Gràcia and connected easily to their wi-fi network.
Once you have joined your local library you have access to all libraries in Barcelona.