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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

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Broadband issues and some thoughts

Here in Galera I’ve noted many Facebook discussions about broadband issues and I was just responding to one in particular when I realised an in-depth response might annoy people for whom broadband reliability and speed is not an issue – so I said I’d follow it up in here. This post, then, is only of interest to locals I guess.

Ok, I’m based in Galera and in the Baza (Southern Spain) area we have a broadband company called Habland who we’ve had for years. Until recently my wife and I were Spanish part-timers and in the months we spent back in the UK, Habland would (year after year) reduce our broadband in speed and price to the lowest level, just enough to run cameras and give me access to stuff I needed. Fine – not stunningly fast but fine.

Today of course, increasingly, fibre broadband is the norm and Habland offer this too. a year ago, despite our street having no phone lines – they (a fellow called Jesus) promised we’d have it “in the coming weeks”. well, that didn’t happen and NOW they want my retired neighbours and I to fund and fit POLES before they’ll fit fibre.

Not only that but they recently “merged” with another company and since then things have changed, it seems for the worse. There are endless gripes on Facebook about their reliability and customer service – and when I asked for the normal reduced service for a short while (as we had to leave for a UK maintenance trip) I sent an email to get that normal reduced service. Instead, the broadband went off entirely for days. When I griped, I was told “we don’t offer a reduced service”. First I’d heard of the change – so much for engendering customer loyalty.

So, on the Facebook post I mentioned above I noted people asking about Musk’s Starlink service – the most advanced satellite service in the world, able to give low-latency, fast broadband wirelessly though no faster than fibre, really. The only catch is the “overpaid middle-class American” pricing – something like 500 Euros install and 99 Euros a month. Musk is missing a serious market segment at that price. Surely taking a leaf out of the airline book would be better – in this case rather than losing potential business altogether, offer a reduced speed (but reliable) service for WAY less, would surely be better than simply losing a chunk of sales… I’m sure, if the price was not much more than Habland, Musk would get Habland’s user base not to mention the “competition”? No sign of that happening.

Here are my thoughts as I’m out of ideas for improving the current service without vastly increasing the price – and even if we pay for poles and get fibre – the people with fibre are doing as much complaining as those with Habland dishes – so one of my thought experiments is a pair of Simyo data-only contracts – 35GB/month each one (total 31 Euros) – one would do the TV, the other for general use, with the ability to auto-swap-over as needed.

Each 4G contract has 35GB with carry-over and they often offer extra bonuses on a regular basis. As for reliability, my 4G phone signal regularly gives the same speed download as Habland’s dish and 10* the upload speed – and that’s without any external, directional antenna. I also have a pilot test, a SIM in a tiny router acting as a backup – not yet perfect but for 5 Euros a month it’s a first step to look for potential issues. I have ONE issue which would not bother most people – no fixed IP address on 4G. As to whether 35Gbytes a month for TV and 35Gbytes a month for everything else is enough, I’ll soon test that theory by constantly checking both TV and general use once we’re not all spending more time than usual indoors due to covid.

That’s it for now, hope someone (Southern Spain Baza region, mostly Galera) locally finds that useful.

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