What The Internet In The Azores Like?

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Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re thinking of moving to the Azores, you may wonder what the speed of the internet is like in the Azores. After all, many of these islands are quite remote with just a few thousand people. The island of Corvo, one of the least populated islands in the world, has just 400 people. Of course, not all of the islands are that remote: São Miguel has around 140,000 inhabitants, which is the size of a small city, while Terceira has around 53,311 inhabitants.

But despite the islands’ remoteness, it is possible to get good internet in the Azores. In fact, some comments on this Reddit post about the internet in São Miguel suggest that it’s the same “or better than on certain places on mainland.” One other commenter posted that they were  “just there for a week and it worked just fine. Didn’t notice a difference between there and the US.” 

It’s good enough that there are now a handful of coworking and coliving spaces for digital nomads on the Azores with several advertising speeds of 1,000 mbps, the same as mainland Portugal. 

Telecommunications expert Fernando Mendes says the quality can be the same as mainland Portugal, but as with continental Portugal, it’s always good to check before you rent or buy a property, which you can do using the form below. 

Cost of Internet in The Azores

Another bit of good news: the cost of home internet in the Azores is slightly cheaper than it is in mainland Portugal due to lower IVA (VAT). In mainland Portugal, there is a 23% VAT on internet whereas on Madeira that figure is 22% and on the Azores it’s just 16%. In total, this won’t amount to much more than a few euros in savings, but it’s always nice to save a little money. 

Internet Speeds in The Azores

As with mainland Portugal, the speeds are generally available in three packages: 200 gbps, 500 mbps, and 1,000 mbps. 

What if you can’t get fibre internet?

As with mainland Portugal, if you can’t get fibre internet in your property, you will usually be offered satellite internet, which is also called 4G internet. How fast will this be? Fernando says it’ll be enough. 

“In terms of speed, most operators will tell you that the speeds go up to 40 Mbps. However, when I tell clients what they can expect, I’m very down to earth and in reality you get an average of 10-15 GBPs. You have to be in a really good location to get more than that on a 4G connection.”

Will that be enough to work from home or watch Netflix? 

“You can survive on it,” says Fernando. “You won’t have a problem having one person on it using YouTube and other streaming services but if you start to add more people, it might not be enough. Unfortunately, if you’re in a rural area and there’s no fibre available, that’s unfortunately all that’s available.” 

Before signing up with home satellite or mobile internet, Fernando recommends getting a MEO and NOS prepaid sim card (the two companies that offer satellite home internet) and testing which company offers better signal and speed where your property is. That way, you’ll be certain you’re signing up with the internet service provider that can offer the best service for that property.  

What about mobile internet? 

The quality of mobile internet and phone signal for calls and text can vary, however. This is due to the topography of the islands and the fact that the towers only cover certain parts of the island. Naturally, this is to be expected for a place like the Azores, particularly on islands like São Jorge.

5G internet is available in a lot of the Azores, according to this coverage map from nPerf. As of September 2023, 5G coverage is strongest on São Miguel, Terceira, and Pico. Most of the other islands have reasonable 4G coverage, but there are definitely plenty of spots where you won’t be able to pick up a mobile signal.

Good news! Madeira has pretty good internet too. If you’re also considering Madeira as a place to live, be sure to check out our guide to internet there.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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