Terms and conditions for all ISPs can change dramatically by the month, rendering pricing comparisons useless. Major providers like Český Telecom will usually require a 1-2 year contract to get the best pricing plan; it´s usually not the best long-term option, however. This particular market is one of the most rapidly changing, worldwide – that connection you just signed a 2-year contract for could very well go down in price by 50% in 6 months, and another operator may come out with better (and cheaper) technology to boot. A great site for comparing current prices and plans in www.adsl.cz (it also has an English version). It focuses solely on ADSL providers; ADSL being the most popular and widely available type of connection across the Czech Republic.
Major Internet Service Providers:
The customer service department at Český Telecom doesn´t have the best reputation, but the company is probably the easiest provider to get an internet connection from. The first step is to get a landline (fixed phone line) from the company – all they require is the lease contract from your landlord and that you sign a 1-year contract with them for the phone line. After that, you can sign up for an ADSL connection that will run through the phone line with no additional paperwork (residency permits, etc.) You can also sign an extended-term contract to get the best rates, but if you cancel early you will be charged the price differential. The company also offers pay as you go dial-up, which can do in a pinch but isn´t the best long-term option.
Eurotel offers similar deals as Český Telecom for ADSL through ČT land lines. There is one catch, however: they require some kind of residency permit for ADSL connections, even if you are an EU citizen and don´t need a residency permit to live in the Czech Republic. They´re one of the few companies to offer a mobile connection, but Eurotel can be quite difficult to deal with: numerous calls over the course of a week still left us unsure of their terms and conditions – which they seem to be unsure of as well.
UPC is one of the few ISPs to offer a cable internet connection, which is a major advantage. A cable connection is more reliable than ADSL – lower downtime and more consistent speeds – and the per-month costs are roughly similar. Two disadvantages: the initial installation (installing the cable line will be more expensive than buying an ADSL modem) and, as mentioned before, availability. There are still many areas, even in the heart of Prague, where UPC is unavailable. If UPC is available in your area, it might be the best bet – especially if you want cable TV as well, which the company also provides. You will be required to sign at least a one-year contract, however.
GTS Novera (Nextra) has similar conditions to Český Telecom – all you need to get ADSL is a phone line in your name or permission from your landlord (or whoever´s name the phone line is in). A major advantage with the company is that you can sign a contract for an unspecified amount of time. A disadvantage, though, is you won´t get the best prices with this kind of contract – and to get the best prices, they require an 18-month contract.
Bluetone is one of the relative newcomers to Prague, offering some competitive prices for ADSL. They may be worth checking out, but come with two disadvantages: they require at least a temporary residency permit, and you´ll have to sign a 12-month contract. Bluetone also offers a fixed phone line (one of the only alternatives to ČT) and a wireless internet service that operates on a different frequency than the other providers.
A major stumbling block for some is the FUP (Fair Usage Policy), which almost all providers have in place on at least some of their plans. The FUP is in place to prevent excessive data downloading – after a (usually unpublicized) data limit, your connection speed will be throttled, in extreme cases down to a dial-up-like slow. Those who use the internet mainly for web browsing and occasional downloads need not worry; if you plan on excessive downloading, however, this is something to watch out for. Try to find a plan for ‘small business´, or something similar, that doesn´t have any FUP or data limit – it will be more expensive, but worth it in the long run if you take in a lot of data.