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Communications (Telephone, Internet, TV, Post)

Alicante - Communications (Telephone, Internet, TV, Post)

The main telephone provider is Telefonica, which installs phone lines as well as offering call services, internet and now cable TV. In many areas, particularly rural areas outside of the city of Alicante, Telefonica is the only choice of telephone and internet provider. However since privatisation in 1997, there is a choice of providers in urban areas but a Telefonica telephone line is still required, and line rental paid to the company. There is a wide range of cheap deals with these companies, but many people still prefer to stay with Telefonica for their customer service and more reliable response to faults. The company has an English department which can be accessed by calling the main customer service number 1004. Telefonica also has shops where bills can be paid and services ordered, and this can also be done through their website www.telefonica.es

Mobile phone usage was slow to take off in Spain, but now has one of the highest use of mobile phone figures within Europe, and most major international names have a presence including Vodafone and Orange, as well as Telefonica's own mobile off-shoot Movistar. Mobile phone operators have numerous stores within Alicante and can also be contacted via their websites. Contract and pay-as-you-go options are available.

ADSL and cable internet is available in most areas in and around Alicante, however some rural areas still rely on dial-up. Most packages through Telefonica, Tele2 and ya.com include free wifi modem and speed ranging from 1mb to 6mb depending on the area, or even in some cases, the street.

There are six terrestrial TV stations in Spain, with a usual fare of chat shows, game shows and American imports dubbed into Spanish. Digital television is worth getting immediately as Spain is planning to switch off analogical television in 2010. Each of the telephone companies offers a digital cable television service offering multi-channels, although availability is still restricted to more populous areas. Free to air digital television was launched in Spain in 2005, and can be received by buying a decoder for around 30 euros. Satellite television is also available from provider Digital +. One of the main advantages of digital multi-channel television for expats is the option of watching films and programmes in their original language, as well as American, British and European news channels.

Subscription to Digital + can be arranged through Telefonica, if their own Imagenio service is not available, by contacting them direct through their website, www.plus.es or telephoning 902 110010.

There are post offices (Oficinas de Correos) in numerous locations in and around Alicante, identified by its yellow frontage, as are post office vans and post boxes. A full list can be found at www.correos.es/comun/oficinasbuzones/1030-Inicial.asp. As well as postal services, the post office also acts as an agent for Deutsche Bank offering a range of banking services, and money can be transferred internationally via Western Union that is available in all offices. Opening times vary, with some smaller offices only open in the mornings. The main post office in Alicante is situated at Calle Alemania, 7, and remains open until 8.30pm, Mondays to Fridays.

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