Update (May 18, 2013): There is a updated Ecuador internet post. Read about the 5 options in Cuenca and the three national internet providers: speeds, costs and availability.
Here in Cuenca, there are lots of options for an internet connection. TV Cable, ETAPA, CentroNet all offer high speed connections. Porta and Movistar each offer a usb modem connection.
So what’s the internet like in Ecuador? Here’s a breakdown:
- TV Cable seems to be the leader. They offer the fastest connection speed with the lowest price. As often happens with the leader, their customer service really sucks. As long as you don’t have to go to cancel, you should be fine. Their monthly rates range from $13.40 (220k) to $114.90 (3500k). We use the 1100k speed at $29.90 and its good. Taxes are extra.
- ETAPA is run by the municipality and they offer a 350k speed at $19.99 up to a 2100k for $80 plus tax.
- CentroNet is okay. We’ve used them for the last 8 months, but have switched back to TV Cable. They are a good option if you live out of range of either of the first two. They are more expensive and slower speed. They use a roof top modem to pickup a wireless signal from their towers. The signal is consistent.
- Porta and Movistar are the two primary cell phone companies here in Ecuador and they each sell a usb thumb modem.
With Porta and Movistar thumb modems you have two options:
- A monthly plan with a limit on the volume of data that can be transferred. A 2 GB monthly plan costs around $20. While this isn’t any good for watching videos, and average of 67mb per day is plenty for some web browsing and emailing. The modem is free.
- A Pay-As-You-Go service that costs around $3 per day. They offer an unlimited connection for the 24 hour period, although the speed appears to be throttled after the first 100mb. The modem is bought outright, and costs from $80 to $120.
These modems are a great option if you are traveling around the country, or if you are only going to be here for a short period. As a rule of thumb, if you have cell phone coverage you will have internet access.