Zero G, the map of Spain without wifi

Remember that moment about to leave work, when you receive an impertinent email that makes you curse the day the internet began to dilute the line that separates your personal life from the work. He is resigned to the extra time that he is going to have to dedicate, but he crosses a reflection in his head: “How well lived before the internet.”

While there are people struggling to forget that they are another slave of the wifi, for others to get connected to the network becomes a continuous headache. They are inhabitants of municipalities where the internet does not arrive and, if it does, it is with a connection that is far from efficient. This is the case in Lagartera (Toledo) where the very fast connection speed makes its more than 1,000 inhabitants feel “second citizens”.

A poster announcing the wifi zone – which could be replaced by one of Zero G – is placed in the door that receives the customers of the road inn that crowns the entrance of this town of La Mancha. “It is adornment,” criticizes an attendant, “I have already lost count of the number of times I have updated the browser window to see if it loaded and nothing, which will not let me.”

As Lagartera, there are 2,731 municipalities – of the more than 8,000 that Spain has – in which operators have not deployed networks capable of giving 10 megabytes of unloading, as reflected in the recent report Broadband Coverage in Spain by the Secretariat Of State for the Society of the Information and the Digital Agenda. But the telecoms crack does not stay there, as the digital divide in Spain is enlarged if you take into account that there are more than 600,000 homes that can not navigate or two megabytes per second.

The reasons why the neighbors of this municipality complain are varied: “Lose half a morning to be able to send an email because it weighs too much”, “having to return to the pharmacy the next day because the server does not work” or ” With an online course because you can not download the files, “says Javier Ropero, a neighbor of the town.

This secretary of the parents’ association at the Lagartera school explains that in the school they also have many problems: “There are computers but the connection goes to pedals because sailing to two megs – if it reaches the maximum speed – is insufficient And micro-cuts are produced, so you have to interrupt the class and return to the books. ”

In the Lagartera Town Hall, Jos√© Vicente Amor, his mayor, explains that they have been battling for years to improve the situation: “The fiber optic cable passes through the main road, it would only need to be deployed by the town and the situation would be solved” . However, he regrets that the disbursement is not profitable to Telef√≥nica – something that is understandable to him – and, although they have sent signatures to the Ministry of Development of Castilla-La Mancha, he says that they continue “with a connection that goes to pedals because a Public entity can not force an operator to perform this type of expense. ”

The poor access to the internet is even more annoying to the neighbors of this municipality, as they say, in the next village, and even in smaller ones, they do not have problems to be able to connect to a “decent speed”. Some of these locations have installed fiber optics, while in Lagartera, they have practically the same facilities since the first computer could connect in the village. “We have not followed the passage of time,” mutters the mayor.

The age of the copper network deployed – almost in extinction – limits its performance considerably. According to the statistical data published each quarter by the National Commission on Markets and Competition, 6% of ADSL connections are unable to provide a speed of more than 10 megabytes of navigation to its users. And to reach at least the two megas it is necessary that the length of the line does not surpass a limit that is placed around the three kilometers, according to the mentioned report.

To give you an idea, the European Union’s goal is for all its citizens to have access to the Internet at a speed of 30 megabytes by 2020 and, in addition, that at least 50% of households can have access to services of higher speeds To 100 megs.

The bottleneck caused by the old-fashioned copper wiring is further tightened for this reason, regrets the neighbor Javier Ropero, since the main telephone node is in Oropesa, the next town. And yes, the distance matters, since when the internet connection is made by telephone cable, each meter becomes fundamental, since, to a greater distance, worse connection.

For this reason, there are slums within the municipality itself. “There are areas of first and second category,” says the mayor of the town, “depending on where your house is,” so that the possibility of connecting ends up becoming a lottery. The further you get away from the main node, the worse the connection gets.

Marci knows well, one of the neighbors that lives where the worst internet connection is in Lagartera. It was one of the last homes to be able to connect to the network – he had a hard time getting it – and his job as a commercial in a German company depends on a connection to the network. “I have a hard time keeping up,” laments this autonomous and, although he prefers not to think about the losses he has been able to provoke his business, he knows that most of his clients have already become accustomed to this “irregularity.” What makes it, like many others in the town, is to take advantage of the Lagartera exits to take work tasks and “suck wifi” elsewhere, and thus, to be able to carry out the work.

When summer arrives – or the popular festivals – and the town multiplies its inhabitants and visitors, the micro-cuts happen more frequently, lament the neighbors. In addition, the problem is not only Internet but also mobile because “saturates the network and stop working,” the mayor goes on.

That is why they do not rely on hiring mobile networks to access the internet, because they fear that they “get saturated.” In addition, the greater the distance to the antenna, the lower the signal strength and, consequently, the speed, so if “a neighbor gets the antenna away, we return to the same,” they continue.

But this situation is not exclusive to small towns, there are also urban areas with poor connection. In fact, more than 10% of the population living in municipalities with between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, the connection to which they can navigate only reaches two megs, being forced to continue in the crack of the digital divide.

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