What’s the Internet Speed Like in Panama?
The answer is it depends on where you live. Like many things in Panama, there is no one right answer for the whole country or even for the town or even the same street.
Fiber optics offers the fastest internet speeds and the most reliable internet in Panama. But fiber optics is not available in many areas in Panama. Fiber optic is available at speeds of 100-600MB or even faster.
If high internet speed is important to you and your business, you should select a place to live that has fiber optics.
If you don’t live in an area serviced by fiber optics, then you’ll either have satellite or DSL internet. The further away from a major town, you live in, the slower the internet speed will be usually.
There are tradeoffs! Sometimes the place with the most amazing view does not have fiber optics or a fast internet speed.
When I first moved to Panama, I asked the property manager if the rental had high-speed internet. His reply was yes. When I asked what the speed was, he said 3MB. Oh no! So I asked if I could get a faster internet speed and his replay was sure, as much as you want to pay for. Come to find out, the fastest speed I could get was 10MB for $135 extra per month.
About 4 years ago, fiber optics were installed on part of my street. It stopped just 2 houses away from my house. I called the company, Cable Onda, to ask what I needed to do to get fiber optics to my house. They said it would be another year or two. I offered to pay them extra to get it to my house asap but had no luck.
Eventually, fiber optics were installed at my house so now I have 100MB of internet speed, cable tv, and a landline for $64 a month.
My neighbor still has only satellite internet at 5MB. She cannot get fiber optics yet.
THE MAIN INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS ARE
TIGO (previously Cable Onda)
Cable & Wireless
These internet service providers also offer cable tv and landline package deals. Sometimes these special packages are more affordable than just getting internet alone.
There are also some independent internet service providers who only service certain areas and they usually charge a fortune for a very low speed. We’re talking about $150 a month for 10mbps!
ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS
It’s a good idea to ask neighbors who they use and what their speed is!
I know one guy who applied to get Tigo fiber optics in Puerto Armuelles. After a month of waiting, they finally told him it’s not available there. Instead, he went with the same company his neighbor is using which has a maximum download speed of 7MB.
Note that two people living on the same street, could have completely different internet speeds available because they are using different internet service providers.
When you are renting, the internet is often included in your rent so there is no additional expense. But you may need to pay for an upgrade in the speed.
INTERNET SPEEDS IN PANAMA
To help you decide where to move to, if internet speed is important to you, I asked people all over Panama what their internet speed is. Some sent screen shots of their speed test and some just sent the details which you can see below:
Casco Viejo – 600MB included with rent.
San Fransisco – 224mbps download with 15mbps upload
Panama Pacifico – 218mbps download and 140mbps upload for $58.00
Costa del este – pays for 400mbps and get average 320 during non peak hours. 10am-7pm would drop to 250 on average. Sometimes in morning I’m lucky to get 10mbps.
Obarrio area – 350mbps with Cable Onda $34
TIP FOR PICKING THE RIGHT ISP IN PANAMA CITY
This was shared by someone who recently moved to Panama City:
In my opinion internet reliability is more important than speed, I do video calls each week and a stable connection is completely essential for me. Here is how I now approach internet in Panama City:
Every building is different, if only 1 internet provider in your building has fibre optic installed then the only reliable connection you will have is with that provider.
I was able to get similar but very unreliable speeds and connectivity with Mas Movil in the same building, I was told this is due to the wiring in the building being inadequate with Mas Movil, however Cable Onda provide Fibre Optic internet to the majority of the building.
What I should have done:
- There is no “Best internet provider”, only what works best in your building.
Ask what people are using in the building and how reliable it is.
- Open your laptop or phone and search for Wifi Networks in the apartment and in different areas in the building before you move in.
For example if 99% of the Wifi Networks start with “COWIFI”, that stands for Cable Onda Wifi. If I had known that from the beginning I would have installed Cable Onda. If almost everyone is using the same internet provider there is a very strong reason for this.
- When the technicians are installing your internet, ask for an extra router to be placed in the room where you need the best Wifi signal, this repeats the same signal of the main router and gives you maximum speed in whatever room you need it.
Coronado Bay -Upgraded to 360mbps. Usually stable but streaming is a bummer on busy weekends as there could be over 100 people attempting to stream at the same time off one supply coax cable coming into the building.
Gorgona 160Mbps download / 25 Mbps upload, with BeWireless $43
San Carlos – Vista Mar see photo below $51.46
Punta Barco Village – 296mbps mbps download and 152 upload! Cable and Wireless. $59 monthly.
5mbps for $99 per month
EL VALLE DE ANTON
in town – 300mbps download for $70 with Cable Onda
La Laguna – Uses a Claro hot spot, we looked into Cable Onda but no service up where we are at. The hot spot is very marginal. Nights and weekends it is very slow or not available at all.
Altos del Maria – 5mbps for $99 per month
Playa Uverito – 6 MB $85. 55 Fibra Óptica
Another person on the same street has 11MB download and 8 MB upload speed
Pedasi – 10mbps with Global $50
Las Tablas – 50mbps for $40 per month.
Torio – .65Mb to 3Mb depending on how many people are in the area..weekends are worse with lots of Santiago people coming down to the beaches.
Chitré – 35.8 MB/S with Cable Onda $39 a month
Playa Venao – 3mbps included with rent.
Quebró, Mariano – 5mbps with Global Computers, pay $105
Alto Boquete 600mbps with the maximum TV package, Total $96.70
Volcancito Arriba – 100mbps with Cable Onda includes cable tv and landline for $64
Palmira – 1 gig with Cable and Wireless for $33.
Bajo Boquete – Cable & Wireless Fiber, Bajo Boquete, $65 per month. See speed test below
El Salto area – 7mbps with Planet Telecom, SATELLITE
Santa Lucia – 42mbps download
Potrerillos – 7-9mbps Cable Onda satellite forget uploading anything.
Close to town – 250mp Cable Onda fiber optics for around 43$
Paso Ancho – 5MB included with rent – but on a different street see the speed…
Paso Ancho – 82.19 down; 5.16 up. Cable Onda fiber -$45, includes cable TV and one telephone landline.
Tisengale – 5mbps with Internet Activo $100
Cerro Punta – 3mbps included with rent
300mbps with Cable Onda includes cable tv for $66
Dolega – 5mbps with PlanetTelecom 99/month ( half way between David and Boquete)
Unfortunately, beach communities outside of Coronado tend to have very low internet speeds. There are trade offs!
Maximum of 3mbps reported by two couples – $99 a month
7mpbs for $99 per month
BOCAS DEL TORO
Cauchero – 5mbps with Internet Activo. Pathetically slow for $99/month
Playa Paunch – Pananet, satellite connection. It’s awful. Slow. Cuts out often. Very hard to upload video, impossible to watch Netflix. And it’s expensive. So we use our mobiles with Tigo, it’s much better. 3 bars LTE is enough to get the job done. Still not ideal, but better.
As you can see, some areas in Panama have very high internet speed and reliable internet but some areas do not.
Panama has built one of the world’s best internet infrastructures with an incredible five of the world’s intercontinental submarine fiber optic cables crossing Panama.
Eventually, higher speeds will be available throughout Panama.
If good internet is important to you or your business, you may need to live in an area that already has a high internet speed available.
When you come on a Panama Relocation Tour or a Private Tour, you may want to do a speed test in the area(s) you are interested in living to verify that the internet speed will be enough to meet your needs.