A special mention here for the company providing many of us in Galera and surrounding areas with WIFI. For the first 3 years of being here we dealt with a very expensive company called Iberbanda for our broadband. This is a WIMAX-type service with an antenna in the village which is then used by anyone with line-of-site access and a suitable small dish and account. Iberbanda were prohibitively expensive for many and in our case, being here only part of the time, one of our largest outlays. I could not find any help in English and they were never very responsive. When we started we had a 512K connection – which by modern standards is awful – and we only had that increased to 1 Mbps when I noted that this is the minimum standard acceptable in Spain and wrote to the company accordingly – our speed went up but not voluntarily.
Earlier this year a company called Habland came on the scene and we immediately moved to them on recommendation – they offer 1Mbps (in both directions) as standard, a dramatically reduced monthly outlay (as little as 14 euros a month) and when we first had this installed I had some issues as my requirements are somewhat more involved than simply reading email. I was initially disappointed by the issues but I have to say that I’ve had support including weekends and strange hours from a fellow called Antonio who manages perfect English and clearly knows his stuff, technically. This is so very different from our previous experience (and indeed my experience with many tech companies).
The standard offering even includes a speed increase for those merely browsing the web rather than downloading – and the promise of more flexible offerings in the future for those of us who need higher speeds for part of the year.
The first test results below are a little biased because I’m doing this at 8am in the morning and also the speeds reflect the fact that the test takes only a moment to run… continuous speeds would be lower and the SECOND set of figures is more typical of results…
The bar below shows how the speed drops dramatically after a matter of seconds… but this does work well for simple web browsing.
Ok, it’s not broadband as most Brits know it – but it works and works well considering we’re half way up the side of a mountain. You must be able to get line of sight to the village for this to work – and while 1 Mbps may sound poor – consider that for Skype usage, it is your upload, not your download speed that matters – and the upload speed here is faster than my 8 meg broadband upload speed back in the UK (typically 600k/second).
What would be great now would be the ability to bump that speed up to say 8 meg for short periods, say on a daily or weekly basis…. whether or not that happens remains to be seen.