From the car backseat, my daughter skypes with her grandparents | 2009
As we prepared to move to Spain, one item on my to do list really worried me more than you may imagine. Setting up our telephone and internet connection. In all the expat forums, there was something everyone agreed was the worst about living in Spain... Telefonica, the main phone, cell phone and internet provider in Spain. Every foreigner living in Spain has a horror story about Telefonica. Every. One.
I imagined their stories of waiting 4 months or more for an internet connection and phone line were a bit exaggerated. C'mon, this is Barcelona, not a remote village. I was wrong. My internet connection and phone line only took two months or so to install. What luck!
As soon as we signed the contract for our home, we started the process to get the house wired. I was determined to use any carrier besides Telefonica. In Spain, there are several competitors providing communications services. After visiting Vodafone, Orange and others, it turned out that we HAD to use Telefonica. No other company provided service to our neighborhood. So much for competition. Seems like Telefonica still has a monopoly, at least in my neighborhood.
That evening I went to Telefonica's website and made several attempts to order a phone line and ADSL connection (in Spain, people say "ADSL" rather than "DSL"). Finally, the order was scheduled. Only to find out a month later, via email, that for some reason Telefonica cancelled the order. We had to visit a Telefonica store. Agh. It took us three visits to the store before our order was definitely placed. We were told we'd have to wait four to six weeks. Someone lived in our house before us, couldn't Telefonica just flip a switch? No. We waited and waited.
In the meantime, I sat in the parking lot of my nearest university to bum the free wifi, which by the way, in Spain is pronounced "wee fee." On the weekends, I would bring the kids so they could skype with my parents back in California. I am sure the nearby hacky sacking twentysomethings thought I was loca.
And after two months, a technician made a visit to the house and installed everything. That is for a phone line with so much static you cannot hear the person on the other line. Plus, one wifi router with a signal so weak my laptop could not pick it up when placed next to it.
My post is part of the Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Travel Carnival on Internet Connections hosted by Jason at Alpaca Suitcase. The next blog carnival will be hosted by Sash at Barefoot Inked.