Personal Finance

Which Regions in Spain Have the Best and Worst Internet Access (and How This Affects Local Internet Usage)

By 2018, 86% of Spanish households had broadband access—with take-up rates varying widely depending on where you live. We delve into how the lack of broadband in some regions affects people's ability to manage their finances, stay connected to friends and family and engage in e-commerce on the Internet.

Access to high-speed broadband Internet connection not only makes it easier to stream videos, but can impact critical areas of life such as social interactions and managing a household budget and finances. Those living in regions of Spain with worse broadband access also tend to be less engaged in e-commerce, Internet banking and social media. See how your region compares.

How Does Broadband Access Affect E-Commerce Engagement?

We found that those living in regions with better broadband coverage tend to shop online more. Shopping online enables people to compare prices, find deals and save money on household expenses. This implies that those with better broadband access have an edge in managing their household budgets. The upwards trend line in the chart below shows the positive correlation between broadband access and e-commerce.

scatter plot showing the percentage of people in Spain who engage in e-commerce and that have broadband access

How Does Broadband Access Affect Internet Banking Utilization?

Similarly, areas with better broadband access also tend to have a larger percentage of the population using Internet banking to manage their finances. Internet banking can be useful for making payments and transfers, checking balances, downloading tax documents, tracking investments, etc.

scatter plot showing the percentage of people in Spain who engage in Internet Banking and that have broadband access

The ability to use Internet banking over broadband certainly makes life easier for local Spaniards, enabling them to manage their accounts from the comfort of their own homes instead of going into a branch. Access to Internet banking can large impact on expats living in Spain who need to manage bank accounts or investments based in their home country.

How Does Broadband Access Affect Social Media Interactions?

We found that people's use of social media is less dependent upon broadband access than other types of Internet usage such as banking and e-commerce. This is not really a surprise, given so many people use their phones to post messages or make other contributions to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Broadband is less of a factor when it comes to social media connectivity, as indicated by the relatively flat trend line below.

scatter plot showing the percentage of people in Spain who engage in Social Media and that have broadband access

Changes in Broadband Access by Region in Spain

All regions in Spain have improved their population's access to broadband over the past few years, as you can see in the following chart. Some regions still trail behind, however. In particular, rural areas are typically less well connected than more densely populated areas, due to less incentive for the private sector to invest in broadband development. For example, 91% of households in Madrid (with 817 residents per square kilometre) have broadband access whilst only 81% of households in Castilla-la Mancha (with 25.7 residents per square kilometre) have broadband.

chart showing improvement in broadband access by region in Spain

Data

Internet Use by Region in SpainHave Broadband AccessParticipate in Social NetworksParticipate in Internet BankingParticipate in E-Commerce
Andalucía84%60%43%49%
Aragón88%60%47%57%
Canarias87%57%49%42%
Cantabria82%54%49%56%
Castilla y León82%50%42%52%
Castilla-la Mancha81%56%41%47%
Cataluña87%60%55%58%
Comunidad de Madrid91%60%56%62%
Comunidad Foral de Navarra87%49%51%61%
Comunidad Valenciana87%61%49%53%
Extremadura78%60%37%46%
Galicia82%52%50%47%
Illes Balears91%62%52%56%
La Rioja82%52%47%55%
País Vasco89%45%53%58%
Principado de Asturias85%57%44%50%
Región de Murcia87%63%41%48%

Methodology

The EU is behind target to provide all Europeans with fast broadband (over 30 Mbps) by 2020, leaving some members of the population without broadband. In order to see how Internet access affects people socially and financially in Spain, we gathered data from Eurostat on broadband connectivity and Internet usage for each region. "Broadband" means high-speed Internet connections over which information can be transferred at a much faster rate than dial-up modems.

Limitations of the study include the fact that other factors may impact a population's Internet use. For example, the proportion of people using Internet banking may reflect not just broadband access but also the ease with which consumers can visit a local bank branch.

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