Internet access in Italy has been improving significantly over the last few years. High-speed broadband internet access is widely available in all major towns and cities although in some small villages and rural parts of the country you may only be able to use ISDN or dial-up to get online
Once you’ve relocated to Italy one of your first priorities to get your new life up and running will be to get yourself connected to the internet. This will allow you to Skype your friends and family back home, manage your online banking, research community groups in your area, book tickets and plan journeys; all from the comfort of your home.
Fortunately, there is a good selection of internet providers that you can choose from that offer competitive prices and reliable, high-speed connections. Getting your internet connection set up in Italy is fairly easy too but there are still a few bureaucratic hoops that you’ll have to jump through first!
What You Need Before Applying For Internet Connection In Italy.
Before you can register for internet access you will have to have your Codice Fiscale (Tax code) and proof of a residential address. To sign up for a new internet connection you can do so online or by visiting a local branch of the company.
Before you apply online or visit a retail store, do your research. I suggest that you talk to your neighbors. They can give you good feedback on which provider provides the best performance in your neighborhood.
How Long Does It Take To Get Connected?
Once you’ve registered and paid for the internet package it can take anywhere up to a few weeks to get your connection set up. In most cases, your connection should be set up within a few days, particularly if you’re living in an urban area. NOTE: If you are buying a property or renovating a property, getting a good internet connection is something you have to keep in mind. My property in Volterra did not have wired internet connection when I purchased it. I made sure that the property was wired for internet when I renovated it.
The Major Internet Providers In Italy.
There are plenty of internet providers in Italy but the market is dominated by Telecom Italia (TIM). The other major players in the market include Fastweb, Tiscali, Vodafone and Windtre.
Choosing the right provider can be a bit of a headache, especially if you’ve just arrived in the country and want your internet set up quickly with as little hassle as possible!
However, it’s still worth taking a glance at what the different providers have to offer so you can get a package that suits your requirements and your budget. NOTE: The companies listed below are not listed in any particular order. Also, the prices and packages mentioned will constantly keep changing. Check out the companies websites for the latest information on the packages and offers,
Telecom Italia, known simply as TIM, is the country’s main provider of internet and mobile phone services. It is a publicly traded company that was formed by the merger of several state owned telecommunication companies in 1994. TIM has a wide range of packages to suit all your needs including broadband, fiber and ADSL services. You can choose from pay-as-you-go options or a fixed, flat rate with unlimited traffic. TIM is also a dominant mobile phone service provider. I use TIM for home internet and Vodaphone for my Italian mobile phone (Vodaphone is a British company and in my view is a better service provider if you are thinking of traveling within Europe).
As an Expat in Italy, you will be better served by a fixed-price internet connection with no limitation on your use. This will allow you to stream movies, Skype friends and family and download music from online platforms without having to worry about data limits.
One of the best options is the TIM Wi-Fi Power Smart package. This is a fiber broadband connection that is designed for private household use. It has unlimited traffic and offers speeds of up to 1 Gigabits per second. The package costs 29.90 Euros per month and includes a free TIM hub and modem as well as unlimited phone calls and a safe browsing feature.
To find out more about the TIM Wi-Fi Power Smart package you can visit Telecom Italia’s website to arrange your installation. You can also cancel the package at any time if you’re out of the country.
Tiscali is an Italian telecommunications company. It used to have a fairly significant presence in Italy but now focuses primarily on Italy. The company has a good range of packages that include smart home services and basic fiber connections; in fact, it was the first company in Italy to offer free phone services with its internet connections.
A great option for Expats in Italy is the UltraInternet Fibra package. The package includes ultra-fast optical fiber internet access, a free Wi-Fi modem and a local SIM card for your phone with up to 100 GB per month plus unlimited minutes. This makes the package a convenient way to quickly set up your communications in Italy once you arrive.
The package costs 23.95 Euros for the fiber internet connection and 7.99 Euros for the phone services each month. To find out more you can visit the provider’s website to check if your location is covered by their services.
Fastweb is an Italian telecommunications company that is actually owned by the Swisscom (Swiss telecom giant that has significant Swiss government holding). Fastweb is one of the top fixed broadband operators in Italy and offers a wide range of services to its customers. I love Fastweb’s website. The English translation is very good and all the plans and features are clearly laid out.
A good all-around package for Expats is the Fastweb Casa Plus. This includes a NeXXt internet box with Wi-Fi and inbuilt Alexa, 2 Wi-Fi amplifiers, unlimited calls and free activation services. The package also includes full Assistance Insurance during the course of your contract with the company and comes at a competitive price of 35.95 Euros per month.
The company has also pledged that for every Fastweb Casa Plus offer they sell they will donate 20 Euros to the Worldrise charity to help create conservation sanctuaries for endangered marine life. To find out more about the package you can visit Fastweb to check if your location is covered by their services.
Vodafone is a multinational British company that owns and operates networks in about 22 countries including Italy and India. As one of the world’s leading providers of internet and mobile phone services, Vodafone has the infrastructure, experience and multilingual customer support to deliver great internet service to Expats in Italy.
There are many packages on offer but the Internet Unlimited V-MAX offers you a stable, high speed and reliable connection at a good price. The package includes a free modem, Wi-Fi Optimizer and free activation services. The offer guarantees Wi-Fi throughout your house and internet up to 2.5 Gigabits.
You can also make use of the free Safe Network Family Protection which will keep you safe from harmful sites and viruses. This allows you to put Parental Controls onto your account making this an ideal choice for Expats with young children.
The Internet Unlimited V-MAX package is currently reduced from 34.90 Euros to just 29.90 Euros per month. To find out more you can visit Vodafone to check internet coverage in your area.
Windtre is Italy’s largest mobile service provider with a 30% market share. Windtre offers some of the most innovative offers in the industry and affords Expats a degree of flexibility that is hard to find elsewhere. They have special rates for home internet if you already use them as your mobile service provider. They also have offers that come with free Netflix.
Contracts And Fees – Always Read The Small Print!
Buying any contract in Italy can be a little daunting if you don’t speak fluent Italian. However, you should never feel pressured into signing or agreeing to any contract that you aren’t completely happy with. This is because there can be any number of hidden fees that might not be clear at first.
Remember that each internet provider has slightly different arrangements when it comes to the services that they deliver. The top internet providers should provide you with a free modem and install the equipment at no cost. However, you should always check this before you agree to a new contract.
Therefore, you should always ask for an English copy of the contract before you sign it. If this is not possible then you can ask for a printed copy of the contract and have it translated so you can fully understand it. It’s easy to find a translator online to do this for you although the internet provider should be able to give you an English copy for free; and if not, try somewhere else!
How Easy Is It To Find Free Wi-Fi In Italy?
Internet services in Italy have improved massively over the last decade and no matter where you live you will be able to find a company that provides you with coverage. However, there will be occasions when you’re not at home, visiting the country as a tourist or, simply haven’t had time to set up your own connection but still need to get online. In these situations, there are several easy ways that you can access the internet on the move while you’re in Italy.
- Free Wi-Fi Spots In Town And City Centers: There are many places in the center of towns and cities where you can access the internet for free via your phone or laptop. It’s worth checking in advance where these free Wi-Fi hotspots are located and making a note of them so you’ll know where to go if you need to quickly get online.
- Hotels: Most hotels in Italy these days offer internet service. Depending on the price you paid for the room, the internet access could be free.
- Cafes, Restaurants And Bars: If you need to access the internet you can always buy a coffee in a cafe or get lunch in a restaurant that has free Wi-Fi. You can find cafes, restaurants and bars everywhere which have Wi-Fi on their premises.
- Poste Italiane: Many post offices in Italy offer free Wi-Fi when they are open. Use Google Maps to find the nearest Italian post office.
- Rest Areas: Rest areas on the Autostrada offer free Wi-Fi.
- Trains: Many Italian trains offer free Wi-Fi. It might not be available in all compartments and will depend on the fare. I have used the Wi-Fi on the Frecciarossa trains several times.
- Co-Working Spaces: Co-working spaces are rapidly growing in popularity in Italy, particularly in the major cities. A co-working space is a comfortable office area that is shared by people who need to have access to the internet for a whole day. Prices for a day in a co-working space range from 25-35 Euros per day but it gives you the option of getting your work done, catching up on emails and making your travel arrangements in a pleasant environment. These spaces are ideal if you work remotely or rely on the internet but haven’t been able to set up a permanent connection at home yet.
NOTE: You should always use a reliable VPN service when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. Otherwise there is a chance of your device being hacked.
Setting Up Your Internet In Italy Should Be Easy.
It’s vital that you have a good, reliable and fast internet connection while you’re living in Italy, and getting it set up shouldn’t be too much of a headache. Just make sure that you shop around for a good deal and check that the company has complete coverage in your area.