Spain, Malta, Denmark, Norway
Internet users in Spain have most of the same offerings as in the United States. Dial-up is still the most common connection type, but DSL is "getting more popular very fast," says Arantxa G. Aguilera, editor in chief of PC World Espa
Citizens of the Mediterranean island nation of Malta can take advantage of DSL or cable Internet access with speeds ranging from 128 kbps download/64 kbps upload to 4 mpbs download/256 kbps upload, says Tony Mule Stagno, editor of PC World Malta. Prices start at Lm5.95 ($18) per month; dial-up access can be had for Lm3.50 ($10) per month.
As in many European Union countries, providers have usage caps. "Practically all ISPs have a download limit for broadband," Stagno says. "When this is reached, you can buy top-ups."
In Denmark, 79 percent of the population has access to the Internet from home, says Robert Vanglo, editor in chief of PC World Denmark. Dial-up and ISDN still make up 50 percent of those Internet connections, however, and those services still charge by the minute. But Danes have plenty of faster options.
Cable Internet speeds reach 4 mbps download/1 mbps upload, albeit at a princely sum of 594 kroners ($101). DSL, with speeds of 4 mbps download/256 kbps upload, costs a little less, at 429 kroners ($73). "[DSL] with 8 mbps download/1 mbps upload is also possible, but not really provided to private users yet," says Vanglo.
But fiber-optic service is being rapidly deployed, especially in larger cities, and Broadband over Power Line (BPL) is available in some regions. "Fixed wireless seems to have been overthrown by all the alternatives for a fast connection," Vanglo says.
Norwegians can enjoy up to 20-mbps DSL connections--depending on the distance from the local telephone exchange, of course. Access is not cheap, though, at a cost of around 469 Norwegian kroners ($75) per month. "Most people will get between 5 and 15 mbps, I'll guess," says Kurt Lekanger, editor in chief of PC World Norge. Cable Internet with 26-mbps speed is available, but it costs 898 NOK ($144) per month. Most people opt for more modest connections--for example, a 1.5-mbps/350-kbps connection for 270 NOK, or $43, per month.
As in Denmark to the south, some fiber-optic cable has been installed in Norway, but it's not catching on as well as in Denmark. "A few years ago there was a Swedish company (Bredbandsbolaget) providing fiber-optic access to private households, with speeds of 100 mbps at a reasonable price," says Lekanger. The company pulled out of Norway, but their existing customers still have 100-mbps access.