Internet in Spain

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This article is about the Internet in Spain.


  • Internet users: 42.40 million users; 91.0% of the population (2020)[1]
  • Fixed broadband: 33.6 million subscriptions, 13th in the world; 83.4% of the population, 37th in the world (2019).
  • Mobile broadband: 25.0 million subscriptions, 13th in the world; 53.2% of the population, 24th in the world (2012).[2]
  • Internet hosts: 4.2 million hosts, 26th in the world (2012).[3]
  • IPv4: 28.4 million addresses allocated, 0.7% of the world total; 604 addresses per 1000 persons (2012).[4]
  • Top level domain: .es

Fixed broadband[edit]

Spain has one of the highest coverages of FTTH, having more than Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom altogether

ADSL arrived in Spain in 1999. In some rural areas, wireless technologies (WiMAX, LMDS, Satellite, HSDPA, ...) are used to provide wired-like services, the main provider of these services is Iberbanda (a Telefónica subsidiary like Movistar), there are also other companies like San Pedro Wifi who are not part of Telefónica. Typically San Pedro Wifi can offer speeds over 100 Mbit/s.

Virtually all wired connections are unmetered. Most broadband lines include free phone calls to land-lines within Spain and some include limited calls to mobile phones.

Movistar offers 1 Gbps symmetrical. Other operators also have 1Gbps offers, some symmetrical.

The most common speed in Spain is 300 Mbit/s as it is the default offer from Movistar, the main broadband supplier in the country. Clients of other DSL companies usually have higher speeds sold as "Máxima velocidad" (maximum speed) or "Hasta 1 Gbps" (up to 1 Gbps Mbit/s); in those offers the speed of the connection depends on the quality of the line (length of the wire, attenuation, noise) as those speeds are just at the limit of the ADSL2+ technology. Jazztel gets better results with its "Hasta 300 megas" (up to 300 Mbit/s) because that connection works with VDSL. In opposition to those unguaranteed offers, Ono, the main cable provider, sells its connections as "x megas reales" (x true Mbps).

The main providers are:

Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Euskaltel are the main providers offering TV packages with their broadband.

Mobile broadband[edit]

The use of mobile networks for Internet access is important due to the high penetration of smart and mobile phones in Spain. The use of USB devices for computers to connect to mobile networks is also common and some fixed broadband providers offer them for free or at low cost for use on holidays.

People usually use flat rates for Internet with limits depending on the price, once that limit is reached, the speed falls from ~7 Mbit/s to ~128 kbit/s (depending on the provider) or the client pays for the extra amount of data downloaded.

There are three 2G (GSM) networks, four 3G (UMTS, HDSPA, HSUPA, etc...) networks and LTE networks are being deployed. Nearly all of Spain is covered by at least UMTS.

The main providers are:

Internet censorship in Spain[edit]

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or, as of 2012, reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority.[5] Complaints about Internet censorship in Spain often focus on chilling effects that come from narrowing the definition of fair use. In 2014, for example, the Spanish version of Google News was shut down as continued operation would have required it to pay fees for each news link that it aggregates.[6]

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights. The law prohibits, subject to judicial oversight, actions including public speeches and the publication of documents that the government interprets as glorifying or supporting terrorism. The law provides that persons who provoke discrimination, hatred, or violence against groups or associations for racist; anti-semitic; or other references to ideology, religion or belief, family status, membership within an ethnic group or race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, illness, or disability may be punished with imprisonment for one to three years. The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence and the government generally respects these prohibitions.[5]

In 2004, the police in Spain arrested ninety people in an operation against the distribution of child pornography.[7]

In February 2008 the editor of a news website, his wife and his daughter received death threats linked to the investigation into a real estate project in which several Murcia politicians and a local businessman were allegedly involved in corrupt practices.[8]

In 2009 the EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding, warned Spain against cutting off the Internet access of content pirates without a judicial proceeding. She said, "If Spain cuts off Internet access without a procedure in front of a judge, it would certainly run into conflict with the European Commission" and "Repression alone will certainly not solve the problem of Internet piracy; it may in many ways even run counter to the rights and freedoms which are part of Europe's values since the French Revolution."[9]

In 2012, 16 cases were brought under the law prohibiting publications glorifying or supporting terrorism.[5]

On 13 April 2012, neo-Nazi Marc Mora Garcia was sentenced to two years in jail for spreading ideas and doctrines justifying genocide and promoting discrimination, hate, and violence through a web page.[5]

On 20 April 2012, Madrid-based Radio SER journalist Pilar Velasco was charged with violating confidentiality after posting a secretly-recorded video of a politician online and with refusing to reveal how she came by the video.[10]

In 2014, newspaper El País reported that El Agitador, a satirical blog from Lanzarote, had been ordered to pay €50,000 in three separate proceedings related to satirical cartoons which complained about widespread corruption in the region.[11]

Since January 2015, Vodafone Spain blocks The Pirate Bay as requested by the Ministry of Interior. And since 29 March 2015 the site is blocked on multiple URLs from all ISPs.[12]

On 13 September 2017, the Civil Guard seized, a Catalan website promoting the Catalan independence referendum, pursuant to an order by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, as the country has considered the referendum to be illegal. The Guard subsequently obtained orders to seize other .cat domains hosting mirrors of the referendum website, and later on 23 September 2017, an order for all ISPs to block any website publicized by Catalan politicians as mirrors of the referendum website. Also censored was an HTTP gateway for the InterPlanetary File System—a distributed file system that had been used to mirror the materials.[13][14][15][16][17]

On 10 October 2017, the Spanish Civil Guard blocked access to Whats-app groups of several pro-Catalan independence groups.[18]

As of December 2017, all previously blocked sites have once again been unblocked, with the focus shifting to taking the sites down directly.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Digital 2020: Spain". DataReportal – Global Digital Insights. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  2. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Internet hosts", CIA World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 2012, accessed 17 June 2013
  4. ^ Select Formats Archived 2009-05-13 at, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  5. ^ a b c d "Spain", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 22 March 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  6. ^ Malcolm, Jeremy (2014-12-10). "Google News Shuttered in Spain Thanks to "Ancillary Copyright" Law". EFF. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  7. ^ "Internet Filtering in Europe 2006-2007", OpenNet Initiative. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Renewed death threats against Murcia news website editor", Reporters Without Borders, 20 February 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Reding warns Spain against internet cut-off", Reporters Without Borders, 3 December 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Criminal charges against journalist who posted spy video of politician online", Reporters Without Borders, 26 April 2012.
  11. ^ “35.000 euros de multa por dos viñetas”, El País, 15 August 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  12. ^ Méndez, Manuel Ángel. "Vodafone bloquea a The Pirate Bay en España por orden de Mº de Cultura". Gizmodo en Español (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  13. ^ "No Justification for Spanish Internet Censorship During Catalonian Referendum". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  14. ^ Jones, Sam (2017-09-27). "Catalan leaders compare Spain to North Korea after referendum sites blocked". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  15. ^ "Catalans set to begin campaigning for independence ballot". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  16. ^ 20Minutos. "El TSJC ordena el cierre de tres nuevas webs con los lugares de votación del 1-O -". - Últimas Noticias (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  17. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel (2017-09-22). "Spain and Catalonia Wrestle Over .Cat Internet Domain". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  18. ^ Pérez, Óscar López-Fonseca, Fernando J. (10 October 2017). "Bloqueado el WhatsApp desde el que ANC y Òmnium movilizan a sus bases".

External links[edit]

  • ESNIC, Network Information Centre of Spain, domain name registrar.