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The parts of Spain with the slowest and worst internet connections

The Local Spain
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The parts of Spain with the slowest and worst internet connections
The areas of Spain with the worst internet connections. Photo: Kelly / Pexels

Despite Spain's enviable telecommunications network, there are still parts of the country with very poor internet connections or no broadband at all, a problem for most people considering a move to rural Spain.

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Spain often ranks as one of the best countries in the world for digital nomads, for its weather, quality of life and good internet connections, but not everywhere is equal and there are still many places in rural Spain where the internet is poor.

Those hoping to make their homes in rural Spain often have to rely on remote jobs because of the high unemployment rates and lack of suitable work, but the slow internet speeds can sometimes mean that this isn’t a feasible option either.

According to data available from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, fiber optic coverage in Spain at speeds of more than 100Mbps reaches 88 percent of the population. This may be quite a high percent, but the coverage is still very uneven, meaning there are large areas without any connectivity. 

Around eight percent of Spain’s population live in areas where speeds above 100Mbs are not available, mostly in the 6,800 countryside villages in Spain that have fewer than 5,000 inhabitants.

There are also still 660,000 Spanish homes that do not yet have an internet connection of any type, according to ONTSI data.

In 2021, the EU gave Spain the green light to use €200 million of the funds allocated to the country through the Next Generation recovery plan to offer internet speeds of up to 300 Mbps (scalable to 1Gb per second) to rural areas with slow internet connections. 

Connecting the entire territory has until now been complicated in Spain, since it is the second most mountainous country in Europe, only behind Switzerland.

While this is set to improve the situation in many areas over the next three years, there are still many places in Spain where internet companies won’t be able to reach.

The Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure has a map so you can check if your home is located within one of the areas that does not have plans to receive fiber optic connections.

Currently, the technical term used for these areas that do not have new-generation connections is NGA. These are marked in white and grey on the map.

White areas are those that do not have broadband network coverage, nor are they planning on receiving it within the next three years. Grey areas are those that only have new-generation broadband coverage or plans to receive installation within three years by a single operator.

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The regions where you’ll find the most homes without a good internet connection are Castilla y León, Galicia, Andalusia and Asturias. Between the four of them, they account for 66 percent of the total number of homes in Spain without a fiber connection.

The problem is more acute in Castilla y León, with more than 363,000 homes disconnected from the network, 27 percent of the total. Galicia follows, where almost 229,000 homes have this problem (17 percent); and Andalusia, with almost 169,000 homes (12.5 percent).

These are the regions with hardly any broadband coverage or very slow connections:

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Castilla y León 

Castilla y León is currently the worst-connected region in Spain. In 2018, only 38 percent of the population had access to broadband. The worst parts are the western and northern part of the Ávila‎ province, as well as much of the Segovia province, apart from the central strip.

The areas on either side of Valladolid and almost the whole of the Palencia province, apart from the western edge also have low connectivity, as well as the area west of León stopping just east of Ponferrada.

Aragón

Much of the area south of Zaragoza, places such as Calatyud, Daroca and Calamocha. Also the area between Zaragoza and Huesca and the area west of Alcañiz.

Catalonia

Inland Catalonia above Lleida and the northwestern corner of the region in the Pyrenees, west of Andorra.

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Castilla-La Mancha

The areas on either side of Toledo, reaching as far as Cuenca to the east and almost as far as Cáceres‎ in Extremadura to the west.

Towns and villages to the west of Ciudad Real and much of the Albacete province, with the exception of the area around the city itself, as well as the central strip running from east to west in the Guadalajara province.

Andalusia

The northern part of the Córdoba and Seville provinces, in the villages around the Sierra Morena and Parque Natural Sierra de Hornachuelos.

The northern part of the Huelva province, along with the central part of the Cádiz province. Internet connections are also poor in the Málaga province between Osuna and Antequerra and Granada province north and east of Gaudix.

Extremadura

The very edge of Extremadura below Badajoz, bordering Portugal as well as the whole area to the east of Mérida, extending to the border with Castilla-La Mancha. Connections in central Extremadura are also poor. 

READ ALSO: What are the pros and cons of life in Spain's Extremadura?

Asturias

The western part of Asturias around Castrillón.

Cantabria

The western and southern parts of Cantabria.

Valencia

Inland Valencia province north and south of Requena and the part to the east of Ayora.

La Rioja

The very southern edge of the La Rioja region.

Galicia

The very northern part of the Lugo province.

READ ALSO: The parts of Spain with the worst transport links

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