What’s the Internet in Lisbon like?

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

If you’re considering a move to Lisbon and wondering about the quality of home internet there, especially in terms of working from home, video calls, or streaming services like Netflix or YouTube, you’ll be pleased to know that Lisbon has fantastic internet.

Despite Portugal’s reputation for a more laid-back pace in some aspects of life, the country’s internet infrastructure is extremely robust. For those relocating from the UK, you’ll find the internet speeds and reliability to be comparable. If you’re coming from the US, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that the internet in Lisbon often exceeds expectations, with faster speeds and greater reliability. The same applies for mobile data (cell phone internet). And, both are much more affordable than the US.

Lisbon, as the capital city and a major hub for digital nomad, offers some of the best internet services in Portugal. Speeds of 1 Gbps (gigabit per second) are available, and for those with more demanding needs, such as video editing or other data-intensive work, speeds of up to 8 Gbps are also available.

However, it’s always a good idea to check you can get internet at a property before buying or renting.

  • Despite all of the main ISPs (Vodafone, MEO, NOS, and NOWO) operating in Lisbon, you may only have a choice of one provider at a property. It’s not uncommon for one ISP to service a specific street and another to service another. While all offer speeds of up to 1gbps, some are considered better than others.
  • You should be able to get fibre internet everywhere in Lisbon, but it’s always a good idea to double-check. In other parts of Portugal, including the Algarve, fibre may not be available and people have to rely on 4g or satellite internet.

As well as home internet, you also have a lot of coworking spaces and cafes to work from. However, for most people, a fibre-optic home internet connection is important.

Choosing A Package

In Portugal, when setting up your internet connection, you’ll often find that providers offer more than just internet service. These packages, or bundles, can include a variety of extras like television channels, a mobile phone contract, and a traditional landline telephone.

While your main focus might be on getting a reliable internet connection, especially if you’re planning to work remotely, it’s worth considering these bundled options for several reasons.

Firstly, many of these bundles come with the perk of free international calls from your landline. This is particularly advantageous if you have friends and family abroad; for example, packages often include free calls to both landlines and mobile phones in the US. This means you can stay in touch with loved ones without worrying about the internet quality or the hassle of getting everyone to use online calling apps like Skype or Zoom.

Secondly, integrating a mobile phone contract with your home internet service can lead to significant savings. Not only is the combined cost usually lower than purchasing these services separately, but it also simplifies your monthly bills by consolidating them into one.

Finally, if you add multiple family members to the same plan, you can enjoy even further benefits. This arrangement not only reduces the overall cost but can also increase the data allowance for each person on the plan, ensuring that everyone stays connected without quickly running out of mobile data.

Contract Length

In Portugal, standard internet contracts typically lock you in for two years, though it’s possible to find providers offering one-year agreements. This might be daunting for digital nomads, remote workers, and students who are accustomed to more flexible arrangements given their often transient lifestyle.

An alternative solution for those not looking to commit to a long-term contract is to consider a mobile internet dongle or device. While these mobile solutions may not offer the high speeds available with fiber connections, they come with the advantage of flexibility. Providers such as Vodafone and NOS offer rolling contracts for these services, and with an average price of €30 per month (along with the cost of the hardware), this is quite affordable.

Despite the seemingly rigid two-year contract structure, it is possible to cancel in the event that you are leaving the country. However, you will need to show proof that you’re genuinely leaving and not simply looking to cancel your contract.

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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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