By Mark Taylor
Getting on the Internet in Brazil is not that different from the USA or Europe. Like the USA and Europe there are major providers for broadband, and also those who provide free dial-up connections.

For those who don’t have a computer and aren’t interested in buying one, you can take advantage of an Internet cafe. These aren’t as popular in Brazil as in some countries, but they are slowly beginning to establish. With an Internet Cafe you pay a fixed amount for the time you use the PC. You may find a small local cafe that offers this, and they tend to offer computer assistance as well. Free or paid Internet areas have also recently started appearing in restaurants and shops e.g. McDonalds, Livraria Saraiva (Ibirapuera shopping).

For those who aren’t frequent Internet users, and aren’t interested in a fast or high bandwidth connection you can use free dial-up. With this you need to install the dial-up software, and all you pay is the phone bill for time you are connected (to a local number). A famous provider for this in Brazil is iG. On their web site search for “Discador”, which is the connection software.

In terms of broadband providers there are basically two for most cities. Telefonica who provide ADSL (their broadband service is called Speedy), and NET, who provide cable (their broadband service is called Virtua). Telefonica uses the telephone line for ADSL, and NET use the cable TV system. Both are effectively broadband connections so the end result for the customer is essentially no different. Which you choose may depend on the availability in your area.

With Telefonica once you have signed up for the system you also need to select an Internet provider, that is the person who actually serves the Internet via your connection. The choices are basically Terra or UOL. Both will offer varying agreements depending on the deals available at the time, which change frequently. Once selected Telefonica will arrange a date to come and double check the telephone line into the house is providing an adequate connection, and then fit the modem and connect to the PC. The PC will need a network interface card (NIC) to connect to the modem.

Expect to pay about 100 Reais a month for a basic plan, but as mentioned previously the price will vary depending on any special deals in place at the time and the size of the connection you buy. Also note that with Telefonica you may be charged for the modem, again depending on the current deals.

Once you have your broadband connection in place, for those who have more than one computer in the house it’s possible to buy either a router (for those using cable) or a router/modem (for those using ADSL). The router can be connected wherever the broadband line enters the house, then cables can be routed to each PC to allow you to share the connection. Note that each PC will need a network interface card (NIC).

For those who are feeling particularly flash, you can buy a wireless router and equivalent wireless router cards. This saves you having to run cables around your rooms, so is neater. For those who are laptop users with wireless cards you can roam around the house using the Internet wherever suits. If you do buy a wireless router make sure to read the security section of the manual that comes with it, to ensure no-one else uses your connection!

In next weeks article I will cover Orkut.

If you have any comment, or had problems getting online in Brazil, or questions on this article as well as suggestions for future articles then please contact the author.

Previous articles in this series:

Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3 (Blogging)
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2 (Internet Telephony)
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1 (Instant Messaging)
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