Venice and the Internet

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SUMMARY: Much better than dial-up and worth paying!

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The Internet Point I used – I stitched this pic together with Photoshop – the gondola is a bit off.

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As much as I love Venice, one of the things that drives me bats is the scarcity of high speed internet access.

As far as I know, there is no cable in Venice – the problem is that stringing cable is an expensive proposition because everything is below ground and finding space for new cable ducts is simply prohibitive economically.

The prevailing high speed connection here is ADSL, which costs about $50/month and up, depending upon how fast you want the connection. With this service, a lot depends upon the quality of the telephone line to the telephone company’s central office, as well as distance. In addition, don’t expect to turn up service quickly – one of my friends took six months to get service and a couple of months more to get the bugs out.

Of course, there is always dial-up, which I have used; you need a LOT of patience as the connection tends to be well under 50 Kb/s – getting a line at 40 – 45 Kb/s is a good connection. Needless to say, when you’re used to 8 Mb/s, accessing and uploading files as these speeds is sometimes an excruciating experience.

For the casual visitor (assuming no hotel access), the most viable option for speedy access (especially needed if you are using VOIP, such as Skype) is to seek out an Internet Point where you “pay by the drink.” Look around and you will see signs on all kinds of shops that have access, albeit with varying levels of service and privacy.

One that I use that is close to where I stay is Sala Giochi S.S. Apostoli, an interesting mix of games and ADSL internet access:

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Inside there is a room with 14 PCs for internet access and two phones for making “conventional” calls – fax is also available. I asked the owner, Livio Brussato, if I could plug in my laptop to the network and he told me that I can access a Netgear router, which enabled me to use WiFi on my laptop – much better because I can download all my email, shut down and handle it off-line, then on again to upload mail, etc. I benchmarked download speeds at 900 Kb/s – very good for ADSL and a joy to use!

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The languages you hear are from all over – I heard Italian, Swedish, American, French and German – just a sampling of the many tourists in Venice.

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Rates range from 7 euro for one hour (fractions also available) to 5 euro/hr when 5 hours are purchased, with discounts for students.

CONCLUSIONS

Much better than dial-up and worth paying! In addition, you can always take a gondola ride nearby – how many internet points can offer this??

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A 10 minute walk from San Marco

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