According to Akamai’s Q3 2015 rankings, Spain has an average Internet connection speed of 10.4 Mbps and an average peak connection speed of 53.5 Mbps.

According to a 2015 census, the current population of Spain is approximately 46,5 million. Of these 71,6% were connected to the Internet, according to stats published by the World Bank Group in 2014.

The Internet industry experiences fast-paced advancement thanks to the fact it belongs to the private sector. The market is divided between a handful of ISPs. Major names include: Jazztel, Ono, Orange, Movistar, Vodafone, Ya.com, along with regional companies, such as Euskaltel in the Basque Country or Asturcon in Asturias.

The Internet in Spain is primarily characterized by the existence of dial-up and broadband connections.

Dial-up access in Spain

As with most European countries that still offer dial-up access to the Internet, the majority of dial-up ISPs in Span offer three types of access:

– Pay-as-you-go
– Flat-rate service (locally known as tarifa plana)
– A combination of the two. It usually involves a flat fee for access after peak business hours and a per-minute charge during them

Broadband access in Spain

Broadband access in Spain comprises ADSL, VDSL and Cable connections. According to stats published by Numbeo.com, the cost for a basic ADSL or Cable service starts at around $50 per month in local currency (EUR). However, this cost is usually higher for first-time subscribers, since companies charge for signing up, for the installation or for the device itself (modem for Cable access or otherwise any other auxiliary device required to access the Internet). The final price shouldn’t normally exceed $70.

The biggest broadband ISP in Spain is Movistar. This company used to be the state-owned monopoly, and even though it’s been since privatized, it still owns most of the copper infrastructure in Spain, which is leased to other companies. On top of that, this company also has a monopoly on FTTH access (Fiber-to-the-home), because it’s the only company pushing it nationwide. Unlike the copper infrastructure, which they are forced by the CMT (The Telecommunications Market Commission) to share, Movistar cannot be forced to create a FTTH network designed to be shared with their competitors. As expected, prices for this type of connection are exorbitant due to this monopoly.

Other companies to consider are Jazztel for VDSL access (very limited coverage – they also resell ADSL in some regions), or ONO for DOCSIS access (directly competes with Movistar’s FTTH access). Both companies are pretty infamous for bandwidth throttling.

Below you can find some of the most important characteristics of the Internet in Spain:

1. Industry belongs to the private sector – certain areas monopolized by a single company

The market is divided between a handful of nationwide ISPs, along with regional ISPs.

Important nationwide ISPs are: Jazztel, Ono, Orange, Movistar, Vodafone, Ya.com.

Important regional ISPs are: Euskaltel in the Basque Country, Asturcon in Asturias, R in Galicia, etc.

As of late, Movistar’s primary focus has switched from ADSL to FTTH access, because the company has ensured a monopoly that they can turn a great profit on – prices are high as expected. Alternatively, customers can opt for VDSL services provided by Jazztel, but the coverage is very limited and speeds usually don’t exceed 30 Mbps. DOCSIS services provided by ONO are not to be excluded, but the company is infamous locally for bandwidth throttling.

2. Relatively high costs

Getting connected to the Internet in Spain is quite expensive for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, first-time customers, on top of the monthly fee that they must pay, are also forced to pay fees for signing up, for the installation or for any other devices that are required to be connected to the Internet. According adslinspain.com, this practice fades away due to the competition, but has not completely disappeared yet. According to the same source, Movistar seems to be offering the best deals of all the competitors. As such, for a subscription comprising 300 Mbps downlink and 30 Mbps uplink, tied to a 12-month contract, one would need to pay around $70 per month. For nearly the same price, Jazztel offers only 200 Mbps downlink and 20 Mbps uplink. Other offers come from Orange, with 50 Mbps downlink and 5 Mbps uplink for $40 per month.

3. Lenient Internet censorship. Relatively strict copyright law

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or reports that the government monitors the activity of Internet users without appropriate legal authority. The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights. Generally, expressing oneself on the Internet in Spain should not come with any fear of prosecution.

However, the situation gets a little more complicated with the copyright law, which is somewhat stern. Since January 2015, Vodafone and other regional providers block thepiratebay.org as requested by the Ministry of Interior. Since 29 March of the same year, all other ISPs are demanded to block access to the same website on its main link and other mirror links.

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