ETAPAOnline is the high speed internet service of Cuenca's water, sanitation and phone service provider.
The broadband (banda ancha in Spanish) signal comes through the phone wires, so if your house has no phone jacks, you won't be able to use ETAPAOnline. The good news is that you don't need phone service to have internet service.
If you need fast speed (2 Mbit/sec) or higher, one option is ETAPAOnline. But be absolutely certain that the person writing up the contract has everything correct.
When we signed up, we asked for the double the speed deal that was available to people in our building. What we got was the 1.2 Mb/sec deal. We could have what we wanted, but with a new contract, and the woman refused to come out on an even remotely timely basis.
So we told her to cancel the service. That got her here pronto. Threats to the bottom line seem to be the only leverage you have here in Ecuador, so don't be afraid to use them. Of course, you have to be prepared for the consequences, which could mean lower internet speed if your service is canceled.
Your options are as high as 2.1 Mb/sec down to as low as 350 Kb/sec. The service is then doubled (according to the web site). You'll receive 4.2 Mb/sec for the 2.1 price, 2.4 for the 1.2 Mb/sec price.
Price for the 2.1 Mb/sec package is $80 per month (plus tax), $40 for installation, but you don't pay for the wireless modem/router. The 1.2 Mb/sec package is $49 per month plus the IVA. Don't bother with the cheaper packages unless you want internet only for surfing and email (no video, no movies, no VOIP phone).
We say not to bother with the slower speeds because ETAPAOnline shares the lines between 8 customers. So, depending on the time of day, your 350 Kb/sec service could crawl along at 64 Kb/sec, or slower.
Depending on when you order, there may be no installation charge. For the latest prices, see www.etapa.net.ec/Telecomunicaciones/tel_bananc_tar_pro.aspx.
All prices do not include the 12% IVA tax, so the top speed comes to $89.60 per month, while the next down comes to $54.88.
Payment is by direct debit, so you'll need an Ecuadorian bank account.
ETAPAOnline provides fast internet at relatively inexpensive prices (for Ecuador). But be certain that your contract states exactly what you're expecting to receive.
And don't be afraid to threaten them with cancelation of your service if you don't get what you want.
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!