In Austria it is quite easy to get an Internet connection. For usual you need a computer, a linking element for the data line and finally an access authorization (provider).
The cheap and simple Internet connection.
Dial-up is the easiest connection you can get, but unfortunately it is also the slowest. Getting connected with the Internet was formally done by telephone lines. This can be either a small apparatus comparable to a cigarette packet or a cartridge which has to be attached in the computer. It’s important to use an Austrian lobe and also the adapted extension cord. Those who wants to save frustration, it’s better to call an expert.
Usually the rate of transmission is V.90 and 56 Kbs, which means, that 56 Kilobits per second are transmitted.
You just need a normal analogue phone-line and an account with an ISP. If you have a fixed line telephone, you can usually just plug your computer in and surf away.
Most dial-up ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offer two types of access:
- a pay-as-you-go service, usually on a per-minute basis
- a contract service where you pay a fixed amount per month for a limited access (these start at around €15/month)
Flat rates have become scarce – check the special promotions, maybe you are lucky.
Both analogue and ISDN lines can be used to access the Internet by dial up. ISDN will offer you faster access at 64 kbps (or 128 kbps, if you use both lines at the same time). The monthly fee for an ISDN line is a little more expensive and you will need a special ISDN modem. See our section on phone lines for further information. For analogue dial-up you need an analogue modem which comes as standard on newer laptops. The advantage is in the first instance the quality of the connection and the fast dial up. Analogue terminals (telephone, fax, answering machine) can be attached at a special adaptor on the ISDN line.
Access rates vary considerably, so it is wise to shop around. Many providers do not even require any sign-up or commitment - simply calling a designated number to make the connection is enough. Typical cost is around €0.015/minute. As this includes the cost of the call it is actually less than a normal local call (it will thus cost more to access the Internet through a university or company server as the cost of the dial-in call will be higher). Fees for these services are automatically charged through your monthly telephone invoice.
There are also full service providers such as TelekomAustria and T-Online. However, they normally charge monthly fixed rates and their software and extra-services may be of little extra use to non-German speakers. Pay attention to the contract details – some offers that appear really cheap at first glance may mean a 2 year contract.
High Speed Access (DSL)
High-speed internet at low cost.
If you wish to have a higher speed Internet connection gets a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection. Offers include ADSL (with faster download and slower upload speeds) and XDSL (with very fast up- and download speeds). ADSL was formerly just available in provincial capitals, but since June 2000 it is getting extended on other places; if you want to know if your access is suitable for ADSL just get informed at the Telekom.
For a DSL connection it is likely that a technician will need to visit your home to install the router or modem. Sometimes in newer buildings, cabling is already DSL-ready and you will just receive all you need by post.
The cost of DSL has reduced a lot in the past couple of years. You can now get a good connection for everyday use from around €20/month.Frequently they differ in incidental services (E-Mail, Address, Web space). It is important that the Provider affords sufficient data links, an ample bandwidth and of course a good support (technical assistance). In Austria there are about 80 Provider’s, the biggest and well-known are Aon (Jet2Web), Inode, EUnet (formerly Magnet, then Nextra), and Utanet. After the registration you get an ID, password, and in most case a CD-Rom. As with dial-up access, pay attention to contract details, as extra costs may arise for higher transfer volume or surfing outside the specified times. A good website to check current market prices is www.inode.at, the portal of an alternative ISP. There are many other ISPs who use the lines of the (originally state-owned) company Telekom.
One really useful thing about a fast DSL connection is that you can also get VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) with your package. VoIP allows you to make and receive phone calls with your DSL connection, even when your computer is switched off. VoIP rates are much lower than standard fixed line rates.
For another option, look up the section “UMTS access”, if mobility is important for you!