In this guide I provide you with tips and tricks to fixed Internet in Ghent. I divided this into 6 steps. Starting with an outline why Internet in Ghent and Belgium is expensive. Next, I provide information about download speed and internet provider for your location before showing tools to compare between internet providers. As a final step I give suggestions for packaged deals and what documents are required to sign the contract.
1. Expect to pay a lot
Internet in Belgium is expensive (expect to pay roughly 30 – 60 Euro per month for unlimited download volume). Compared to its neighbouring countries, GlobalData estimated in 2017 that Belgium and the UK pay the most for mobile data, and it seems that the same is true for fixed internet. Several articles suggest that the market power of the two big telephone network cable providers (Telenet and Proximus) does not help to create a more competitive environment. Alternatives using a television cable network provider, satellite or wifi hotspots are in a similar price range. For both telephone and television network cable providers a modem is required. You can check the costs on setting up the contract (~ 60 Euro). Installation costs usually apply as well and are in the order of 50 -100 Euro. There are no television and radio licence fees to pay in Ghent.
2. Know the maximum download speed at your address
This will help you to not overdesign and pay too much for the contract you are about to get. E.g. if only 50 Mbps download bandwidth is possible at your address, there is no need to pay extra for a higher bandwidth than that. Typical download bandwidths in Ghent vary between 12 Mbps and 200 Mbps (fibre cable). Proximus and Telenet have the ambition to increase this number to 1 Gbps before 2020. There is an easy online tool to check which maximum bandwidth is possible at your address.
3. Check the internet providers available at your address
There are 3 ways to connect to the internet in Belgium. Via the
- Telephone line (ADSL or VDSL),
- Satellite or cable television network and
- Wifi (e.g. hotspot).
Most common is to use the first option and connect via a broadband telephone cable. These broadband cables are provided by 3 companies, as listed by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications. These companies are Proximus, Telenet and VOO. Each of these telephone network cable providers offer the possibility to check whether they provide to your address on their websites.
|Telephone network cable provider
|Proximus||e.g. Proximus, EDPnet, Billi, Scarlet, United Telecom|
|Telenet||e.g. Telenet, Orange|
|VOO||e.g. VOO, Orange|
Once you have checked the network cable provider available at your address you may choose the internet provider from the same company. Alternatively, you may choose from the table above another provider making use of the same cable (with a better price deal but probably less service). An example for different offers using the same telephone cable are Proximus and Scarlet. Proximus itself offers unlimited download for 49.99 Euro per month (100 Mbps) and Scarlett for 39.99 Euro per month (50 Mbps).
4. Make the comparison of internet providers
The Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications offers an extremely helpful selection tool to see which available internet offer fits best your user preferences, location and current installation. They distinuish between little (facebook/google/email: ~20Mbit/s), regular (streaming/netflix/youtube: ~60Mbit/s) and heavy (gamer: ~100-500Mbit/s) usage. This website is available in English. Having done the comparison for myself (Internet only, download volume = 150 GB per month, download speed = 50 Mbps) a promotion from Telenet for 27.80 Euro per month including the cost for a modem was the best price deal.
A complete list of internet providers and their offered packages is given on this online comparison portal. The internet offers often distinguish between low and high usage. As an example Proximus offers two options: The “Internet Start” option with 100 GB download limit and 50 Mbit/s for 27.50 Euro per month (+59 Euro installation cost) and the “Maxi Internet” option with unlimited download capacity at 100 Mbit/s, check if your location allows for this, for 49.99 Euro per month (+59 Euro Installation cost)
5. Make a package deal with landline, television and mobile
Especially the television network cable providers (Telesat, SRL, TeleVlaanderen) but also the big telephone network cable providers (Proximus, Telenet, VOO) offer package deals including internet, landline, mobile and television. E.g. the high end package from Proximus “Tuttimus 20G” includes unlimited internet, landline, TV and mobile internet/telephone for 115.94 Euro per month. It is always worth the extra effort to check for temporary offers with the provider directly.
6. Bring the following documents to sign the contract
You can make contracts online, via phone or personally in the provider stores in Ghent. Typically required information to sign the contract are a:
- valid passport
- the rental contract for the place where service will be installed
- work contract (University contract/certificate as a student)
Domiciliering, Belgian ID’s and Belgian bank account make the process easier but are not required. Plan for 1 month installation time until everything is set-up.
Finally, it is worthwhile to check with your neighbours about legal options to share one account via a wifi hotspot. Personally, I am a frequent user of the University wifi Eduroam (if you are a student) or the public library De Krook and other internet coffee places. You may also consider only using your mobile internet since mobile internet prices are more competitive and the coverage (4G in the whole of Belgium) is optimum.