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The ins and outs of living in Puerto Rico

Internet Service Providers in Puerto Rico

There are several Internet service providers in Puerto Rico. Depending on where you live is the company that you will have to use for cable Internet, DSL however is offered by the same company throughout the island. If you’re considering cable Internet then you will be choosing between Liberty Cablevision and Choice Cable. If you are looking for DSL then the company that offers it is Claro, which is also the phone company formerly known as Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC).

There are also some smaller companies that offer mainly wireless Internet, but I am not very familiar with them so I will not mention them here, however, there are a few things that they all have in common so I will mention them here and then I’ll go a little bit more in depth regarding each individual company.

Just so you know right off the bat, Internet in Puerto Rico is slower and much more expensive than what you probably have/had in the states, no real reason, it’s just the way it is, especially around the San Juan metropolitan area.

I know it is much slower than what we had in the states six years ago. We had cable Internet at a speed of 12 Mbps and we paid roughly $40, now for the same price here in Puerto Rico, we get a little bit less than 3 Mbps! And it wasn’t until late 2013 that 3 Mbps was the fastest speed for my house; now the fastest speed for my house is 30 Mbps for DSL, and up to 60 Mbps for cable.

I have had both cable Internet and DSL, and my experience was that cable Internet, at least in my house, was slightly faster but very inconsistent, which means that at times when many people are on the Internet, my Internet got really slow, and I’m talking REALLY slow! While DSL, which is what I have now, has a slower max speed than cable, but it is consistent, which I like because I want the same speed whether it is 2 AM on a Sunday morning or a 6 PM on a Wednesday evening.

I’m not exactly sure why the Internet in Puerto Rico is that much slower and so expensive, but the truth is that you probably can get faster Internet speeds in your phone than you can in your house (like in my case), although they are improving a little bit by slowly expanding their fiber optic network, but you will pay more for that.

Another thing to mention is that if by chance we are affected by a tropical storm or hurricane, we will lose power for a few days, and cable for even more days, which means that your cable Internet will also be out of service until the cable company restores it, even if your electricity is already restored. However, those who have DSL will likely see Internet service restored as soon as the electricity gets restored, so a lot of people have one of those big computer battery backups, but also connect their DSL router in it.

Claro (DSL): 

Claro is the main DSL Internet service provider Puerto Rico. They claim to have up to 50 Mbps speeds and they also pride themselves to have unlimited download data. They cover pretty much the entire island, as they use the phone lines for the Internet in just about every house has a phone “land-line”. This company may actually be the only choice for Internet for those who live in the interior and other mountainous areas since the cable companies mostly serve the coastal municipalities and the more densely populated areas.

Good points: Their Internet speed is consistent which means that he will not get noticeably slower during peak usage times (normally in the evenings). They also have access to ESPN3 which is something that I really like and I’m sure a lot of people out there too. Since you get unlimited download data you can stream video watch Netflix movies, or watch ESPN3 without having to worry if you will surpass the download data limit.

Bad points: Customer service is about as bad as it can get. If you call customer service you have to go through I don’t know how many options to be able to talk to an actual person. They simply do not give you the option of talking to someone unless it is for sales, so maybe you can pretend that you were going to buy something talk to someone, and then have them redirect you customer service because otherwise you simply will not find a way to talk to a person. Not only that, their technicians don’t work on the weekends, so if your Internet is out on a Saturday, don’t expect your Internet back that day. Also, good luck finding someone who speaks English.

Click here to read why I renewed with Claro Internet.

Want to know more about my love/hate relationship with Claro? Click here to go to an extended Claro Internet Review.

Click here to access Claro’s website.

Liberty Cablevision – Formerly OneLink in the San Juan Area (cable): 

Liberty Cablevision is now the main cable Internet service provider across the San Juan metropolitan area and also eastern and north central Puerto Rico. Currently they are offering internet packages with speeds up to 60 Mbps. If you had OneLink, you are now with Liberty and the data cap of 40 Gigs that OneLink had is no longer in effect. Liberty Cablevision, as of now, has unlimited data download. You have to be careful though, some of their more affordable “triple pack” plans only have Spanish TV channels.

Good points: Although I have never used Liberty’s Internet service (I did have OneLink though), they seem to have, at least on paper, some of the best plans simply because they have the fastest speeds, unlimited data downloads, and access to ESPN3. People that I know that use Liberty Cablevision seem to be generally happy with the service and the reliability.

Bad points: Like I mentioned above, I have personally not used their Internet service. However, given the fact that it is cable Internet, it is susceptible to decreased speeds
during peak usage times, which means that you will likely get the advertised speeds only at times that almost no one is using the Internet. Adding to that, friends of mine who do have Liberty have told me that the internet does get really slow during peak times. Also, a friend of mine did tell me that he tried to access ESPN3 but he couldn’t, for some reason Liberty Cablevision was not in the list of allowed internet service providers to use ESPN3.

Click here for a detailed OneLink Internet Review (now Liberty).

Click here to access Liberty Cablevision’s website.

Choice cable (cable): 

Choice cable offers Internet to Southern, Western, and Northwestern Puerto Rico. They claim to have three Internet speeds 12 Mbps, 20 Mbps, and 50 Mbps.
Their prices seem to be fairly reasonable compared to those of the other cable companies. I saw an ad for $30 a month for the 12 Mbps package, which is not bad compared to other companies that charge $45 for 4 Mbps. However, I have heard only bad reports from its customer support, which although not good, it’s not surprising,unfortunately.

Good points: I used Choice Internet for a few days when I went on a trip to Northwestern Puerto Rico, I was happy to see that it was faster than my Internet at home, which proves that the San Juan metro area does not always get the latest technology first. I was told by a friend though that he was extremely happy to not have to deal with Choice anymore because of what he described as “lazy” customer service.

Bad points: When I used Choice Internet, I was happy to see that it was fast, but I was also not very happy to see how much it slowed down. I expected it to slow down
during peak usage hours since, after all, it is cable, but from 12 Mbps to around 1 Mbps was a bit of a shock. In addition, as soon as I saw how fast it could go, I tried ESPN3 but I was disappointed to see that there is no access to ESPN3, at least not when I used it back in February 2012. One more thing, I couldn’t a “Choice Cable” English website.  =( So there you have it! If you have any questions or comments regarding the Internet service providers in Puerto Rico, please let me know! I hope this general guide helps!

Click here to access Choice Cable’s website.

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14 Comments

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Yes! I actually did know about this!

      Also, recently Claro installed the fiber optic cables here. In fact I saw them putting the cables into a hole in the beach! I had no idea that there were some underground fiber optic cables in the depth of the oceans! I really thought that was a myth or something that people said, but it is actually true.

  1. I just moved to old San Juan and learned that basically I had no other choice but to use Claro as my internet provider. I’m
    Currently playing for 5mb (so depressing coming from the states) but what I’m actually getting is between 1-3mb. Randomly changes. Any advice? Is there something else out there?

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Gia:

      I’m so sorry to hear that! =( Is there a particular reason why you can’t use Liberty? Have you tried them out? Is this for home or business?

      I know it’s sad to go back down in speed so much I had the same issue when I moved here. However, I know Liberty has internet plans that go up to 60 Mbps, Claro I think has up to 50 Mbps but they recently installed a 100 Mbps line into San Juan, not sure if/when we’ll see velocity increases with that though.

      I’m surprised that you see speed changes with Claro, the main reason why I’m paying more money for less speed with Claro is precisely because my speed does NOT fluctuate, unlike with Cable where my speed has gone from 12 Mbps to less than 1 Mbps!

      What I would recommend? Well, give Liberty Cable a call and ask if you can use one of their plans, “Triple-Play” plans give you the best bang for the buck if you are interested in TV and Phone. If Liberty says no then give Claro a call and tell them that you are getting 1 Mbps and to please have someone go test it out. There are many reasons why the speed drops, such as the Concrete structure of buildings, distance from the router, actual wi-fi antenna of the computer or mobile device. The best way to test if you are getting the full speed is to use speedtest.net while you have your computer hooked up to the router using the Ethernet cable, not wi-fi.

      I’f I’m paying for 5 Mbps, I would expect no less than 4.2 Mbps consistently, and definitely no fluctuations! Especially with Claro! So if it is fluctuating that bad even when you have it connected using the Ethernet cable, you must definitely give them a call because it shouldn’t be that way, not with Claro; if you do change to Liberty then you should actually expect a significant decrease in speed during peak usage hours, so I suggest getting no less than 20 Mbps if you can and do change to Liberty Cable.

      Let me know if you have any more questions,

      Hope this helps!!!

  2. Well I live here in Ponce, PR. For about 6 years now. My outlook on most of customer service here is that they’re all lazy and worthless to talk to. I’ve had such bad service here. ESPECIALLY the internet. Its as if these companies just want to suck my money out of me. The one internet provider that I’ve at least had DECENT is Choice. Even though they sometimes end up losing my internet due to a storm or bad weather its been better than other competitors out there.

  3. Claro consisted no no no i had the 5mega at first it work graet but then it started to drop the i call gose up after the 5min from calling it gose down agin 1mega or less it keep happening over snd over claro sucks

  4. Dish internet is through Claro.

  5. This is actually old now the speeds are much more better one link offers up to 10mbps for the price they used to charge for 6mbps, dsl now have up to 50mbps expensive but for a decent price they offer 16mbps and there is one wireless company that it is amazingly good called aeronetpr.com expensive but reliable

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Yes that is true, I will update as soon as I can. Even though there are faster speeds now, there are still significant decreases in speeds during peak times with Liberty. But it may still be fast for what you need it.

      Just an FYI.

  6. One Link PR just dropped TCM< Turner Classic Movies. Now One Link cable PR is a truly worthless company. Internet speed frequently drops to such a slow speed that watching video on youtube or hulu is usually impossible. Have never seen such a poorly run company. at least none that are still in business.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Well, I had many problems with OneLink, particularly the internet speed going as slow as 100Kbps in the evenings! It didn’t matter what I tried, they never did anything about it. But when you consider that their only competition is CLARO, you see how they are still in business. The only advantage Claro has over OneLink is that their internet speed is consistent, slow, but consistent. However, Claro’s customer service is abysmal. So it is truly a toss-up between 2 subpar companies, unless you want to pay more, and get Dish Network’s internet, which recently got introduced to the local market.

  7. very helpful, thanks

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