The Internet service market in Italy is dominated by the operator Telecom Italia (Alice), but the number of providers is growing. The main internet providers are Libero (by Infostrada), Tiscali, Alice and Fastweb.
It is also possible to connect to the internet at cafés and internet bars. The Italian Internet Cafe directory provides an extensive list of internet cafés in Italy.
Accessing the net on your mobile phone
Some companies like TIM and Vodafone also offer connection via a mobile phone (which means connection can only be made if a signal can be obtained). A mobile phone designed for quick internet connection is suggested for users who plan to use the internet frequently on their mobile. Some phone devices offer better efficiency in order to establish a fast and stable connection wherever you want.
In Italy the most usual way to keep an internet connection is connecting a mobile phone to a laptop (the mobile is the device that has the internet connection). However, you should carefully read the fine print in your mobile contract to avoid surprising charges.
Another very popular connection is by using internet keys, such as the Vodafone Internet key by the Vodafone station.
Major internet providers
Libero provides internet under the telecommunications company Infostrada. Offers include unlimited access, pay-as-you-go internet offers and packages that include telephone calling options.
Tiscali is one of the most important European owners of optical fibres. It was also the first company to offer free calls by internet via "Voispring" (which later became "NetPhone").
Telecom Italia's broadband internet “Alice ADSL” is one of the most popular internet brands in Italy. It proposes flat and pay-as-you go offers, with or without monthly subscriptions.
Fastweb is the main operator in broadband fixed net in Italy. Using fibre optic cables and xDSL, it has managed to achieve the convergence between telephony, internet and television, offering a wide spread of services. However, Fastweb doesn't have the most reliable service. Milan is one of the few cities where Fastweb's service reaches all the users reliably.
Internet advertisements over your mobile
Internet companies will make calls to your phones, telling you about available offers. Pay a lot of attention to these offers because sometimes they are fraudulent. Very often, the sales representatives speak to you quickly, and you don't realize what kind of offer they are really proposing. If you're interested in one of these offers, you should write down every condition involved in the offered contract and then compare it with the conditions on the provider's website.
You can also ask to the sales representative to repeat everything slowly and even to call you again a couple of days later because you need to think about it. If they are really calling on behalf of the internet provider, they will agree to call you again.
Alice ADSL offers IP TV packages that combine internet access with a range of more than 100 TV channels. Other TV providers include Sky Italia and Mediaset Premium. Sky Italia has established a partnership with mobile providers to get television services on phones (this is very popular in Italy). You can subscribe to these kinds of offers to get portable video on demand.