How to get an internet connection in Chile for non-residents

Posted: September 25, 2012 in Foreign residency, Life, Stupidity
Tags: , , , , ,

I had read countless nightmare stories on expat nonresidents in Chile being unable to get internet hooked up. Therefore I was in GuardedGringo mode when I went to try and get mine put into our new old former crack den.

VTR was my first choice, but in our area (Centro/downtown) they are unavailable and only offered a 2 megabit wifi line, which would be unacceptable. Maybe sometime in the future they will roll out more cable and I can get one of their nice fast 120 megabit lines. Ah well.

Movistar is the one which causes everyone to run screaming and/or projectile vomit (hence their colloquial name “Vomistar”). They were my second/last choice. And, unfortunately, they only offer a 6 megabit connection but it’s DSL and not wifi so that’s a little better. So I decided on them, not really, more like settled, but whatever. Half of something is better than all of nothing. Nonzero, bitches! I went to the Movistar office at the mall, and asked the lady at the counter about how I could get the hookup.

“Do you have a resident card?” she asked.

“Nope. But I’m en tramite.” I told her.

“That’s OK. Do you have a work contract?”

“Yes I do. But not with me.” Not exactly the sort of thing one carries in their wallet. “I’ll have to come back.”

“OK, no problem,” she says.

“Understood, but when I come back, I take it to mean from your unexpected agreeable attitude that this is possible and I can get an internet connection with just a work contract and no resident card?” I inquire.


And, of course, when I return, she is nowhere to be found. Ghost lady. The guy there now is douchy Guido and tries to tell me that I can’t sign up for internet here. Bullshit, you just don’t want to do the paperwork. Whatever, up yours pal, I’ll try the other office down the street.

So I go there, and the dragon lady at the desk tells me I can’t get one without a resident card. “You need a Chilean credit history for accounts to approve it.” Again bullshit, if I don’t pay, just cut my line. Simple. I try to tell her that I know the game, but she foists me off on a grumpier, older guy, who tries the same bullshit. When I insist, he just walks off. It was Friday and about 6pm.

It should be mentioned that Movistar is formerly knows as Telefonica, the old government monopoly, which was sold off. The old functionaries who don’t want to help you are still there somewhere, jamming up the machine with the tar-like substance that oozes from their ears. OK, I can play this game another way. I go home to the refuge of my computer.

WifeBob, by the way, noticed my “been playing with bureaucrats” look and called me out on it. Maybe it’s the veins that pop out of my neck and forehead and the sparks that fly from my grinding teeth.

Movistar has a website where you can solicit a new line through a web form. They then call you to verify the information, and set up a time for you to have the line installed. Minimal human contact, and the only pressing info they need is an address and a Chilean RUT number, which any schmoe can get in 10 minutes. No credit card, nothing else.

I solicited the new line on Friday, and they called me that evening to verify the info. The lady on the phone told me that within 15 days I will be contacted for the installation. OK, I think, South Americans NEVER call you back, ever. In 2 weeks I’ll go see the VTR guy, tail between my legs, and opt for the crappy 2 meg connection.

Surprise surprise, Movistar called me this Tuesday to ask if I would be ready in an hour for the line to be installed. OK says I. Come on over.

2 hours pass and the guy finally shows up. Along with delivery guys bringing the chairs I ordered yesterday, which arrived on time. Everyone showing up at once. The guy installs my internet, it works at the advertised speed, all I had to do was sign the form stating it was installed and answer questions from a tech on the phone, verifying that I am me and that I live at my address and that the line works.


I should also mention that had my expectations not been drowned to death, resuscitated, and then drowned to death again, and again, and again, and again, and again, in Uruguay, I’d probably be flipping my lid over stuff like this. One cannot know the taste of sweet unless one has been force-fed rotten dog shit by the ton.

  1. Yes, it’s all a matter of comparisons, isn’t it? I have fond memories of getting a phone connection in Toronto, Canada. (This was many years ago, long before the days of cellphones.) Used to English standards of service that usually involved two or three weeks’ delay, I called the Bell Canada monopoly from a public phone at 11.30 one morning and gave the girl my name and address. “Sir, oh gosh! I’m terribly sorry, but all our servicemen are on the road at the moment.” My heart sank, and I waited for the bad news. “I can’t get anybody to you before two o’clock. I’m really, really, sorry.”

    Yeah, OK, lady. Just this once… For your Uruguay, I’ll give you my England!

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