Although there are still some people using dial-up for internet in Spain, these are usually limited to rural areas. More common options are ADSL, WiFi (by far the more popular choice) and Mobile Internet (usually bundled with a home WiFi package).
The main provider for internet is Telefonica. You can access their website in English here: http://www.telefonicainenglish.com/
As Telefonica was the mainstay of Spains telecoms for decades, they retain the arrogance of a monopoly provider: customer service is notoriously poor, connections are usually more expensive than anyone else´s and if they make a mistake with your account, you will have a great deal of trouble trying to prove it.
Up until now, no matter which ISP you went with for your internet connection, you would first need to go through Telefonica to establish a landline. This is changing and now Orange and Vodafone offer a connection option, so you can bypass Telefonica completely.
As long as you have a Spanish bank account and an NIE (see our NIE and Residency section), you can set up your new account over the phone or via the net. Most bills in Spain are debited directly from your account (rather than from a credit card) so as long as you have the account number to give the operator, you can begin the process.
If you are dealing with Telefonica, be prepared to wait up to 2 months to have a phone connection/ADSL connection set up, no matter what they tell you over the phone.
If you are dealing with Orange (not the best choice – their prices and hardware are good but their customer service is appalling), you will be ready to go in just a few days.
The same applies to Vodafone and the added bonus with this company (apart from the good service – English speakers as well) is that while you are waiting for your router to arrive, they will send you a mobile modem (dongle-style). As long as you don´t stray too far from your place of residence, they will only charge you the same amount as you are paying on your home-based WiFi plan.
You can have a technician come to your house (it will cost around €100) if you don´t know how to install the equipment. Self-installation is pretty straight-forward, though, and getting easier all the time. Help is available over the phone at no cost (except for Telefonica who does not provide a toll-free number for their help desks).
Don´t expect to pay more than €50 per month for internet – and this can usually be bundled with mobile and TV options.
You will, however, encounter a significant problem if you don’t have your NIE. This means you won´t be able to sign a contract of any kind. While you are getting your NIE, you will need still probably need internet access. You can either buy prepaid dial-up (not recommended as even local calls cost money, use a Net Cafe, take your laptop to one of the ubiquitous cafes with free WiFi, or your local library. Once you have a local library card (you don´t need anything for this except photo ID), you can access their free wireless system. You also have access to any of the libraries in Barcelona and the surrounding areas.
Net Cafes will cost between €1.20 and €3 per hour. They are all over Barcelona (look for the word ´Locutorio´), but here are a few to get you started:
- WORK CENTER – (Barcelona’s Kinko’s) – 5 different locations, refer to them online at: http://workcenter.es/
- EASY INTERNET, Rda. Universitat 35
- TIENDA VIP, Rambla Catalunya 7-9
- CLICK CENTRE, Rda. St Antoni 32-34
- 3 BITS, Tigre 22
- TIMENSION TRADING, Rbla. Ravel 5
- EMAIL FROM SPAIN, Ptge. Barcardi 1
- ACOMA, Boqueria 21
- EASY INTERNET, La Rambla 31
- CYBERMUNDO, Bergara 3
- CIBER CONDAL, Basses de St. Pere 26
- LLIBRERIA IDEA, Pl. Comercial 2
- BCNET, Barra de Ferro 3
- OVER THE CLUB, Fusina 7
- INSOLIT, C. Com Maremagnum
- TRAVELBAR, Boqueria 27