I'm seriously considering moving to a remote location on the Canary Islands (a Spanish territory) that does not have landline service. (Nor electricity, for that matter.)

One thing I will need, for work, is a reliable Internet connection.

From my initial research, it seems that the only real option is using the cellular network.

However, the offerings from the four to five major players confuse me, mainly because my grasp on Spanish isn't perfect yet.

I'm not sure whether what they are offering is the best game in town, how one would find out whether your location is actually covered by the network before entering a 2-year contract, and whether there is anything else I should look out for.

How could I ask about this on Expats.SE without the question descending into a pure shopping or "best way to..." question?

Would "How to get phone and Internet service in a rural location in Spain" be a workable question? Should I ask about how to compare Spanish cell service offerings, what traps to look out for, etc.?

Should I ask it at all? The argument could be made it shouldn't be on topic here.

  • 2
    I agree, I'd argue it would be off-topic here. It's a cellphone/shopping question, is not exacerbated by the fact you're an expat (a local would have the same problems).
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 25, 2014 at 2:27
  • 1
    You should use the scope tag for questions about what's on-/off-topic. I can't edit the question to add it though. Mar 25, 2014 at 8:41
  • @hippietrail since you seem to be adding this comment on multiple questions, I think you should be linking to the meta tag scope instead of the main site.
    – StrongBad
    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:07
  • 1
    @StrongBad: D'oh! I forgot how the tag linking between main and meta worked. They changed it a couple of years ago but I got the direction of the change mixed up \-: Mar 25, 2014 at 11:28

4 Answers 4


The simple test would be if the question would be any different if you'd replace an expat with a local (or no one in particular)? If not, then it's off-topic.


  • generic question (how to get internet connection there) is IMO off-topic;
  • the fact that one does not speak local language does not make it on-topic, in fact I find it irrelevant;
  • question how are requirements for getting internet connection different for expat than for local (eg. due documentation, local bank account, whatever) would be on-topic. Note however that you should expect answer to be only about these differences, not whole process;
  • bit slippery: if something is obvious to locals, but might not be to expats, then it still might be on-topic. Eg. "does rental price of fully equipped apartment in Canarias usually include internet access?" (btw. answer would be "no, unless explicitly stated so"). As this is kind of on the edge I'd judge that case on individual questions rather than generic rule.
  • -1 because I'm disappointed in the direction the site evolved. It strongly limited it's usefullnes for me, and I think restricting topic too much will make it for the site much harder to leave beta. Don't take it personally, I'm just expressing my opinion.
    – user41
    Feb 11, 2015 at 10:17

I think it's on topic if your question is about the perceived value of offerings that they hope for their intended market to appreciate - it becomes a bit of a cultural question then.

That's not much different from "I'm about to pay $123.45 for [something] in [territory], with [features], is that an appropriate value?"

Someone local could answer that, an expat living there could also answer it with the added depth of their perspective and experience.

We're delving a tiny bit into recommendation territory currently, questions about where an expat European might be able to find authentic brats in [Asian country] are currently on-topic. Just try to make it more of "Help me understand the perceived value of these offerings, and any insight into the best I can expect" and I think you're good.


I am not sure if this is serious or not ... This sounds like a copy of the original boat programming question over at SO. An archive of the original question is at: http://web.archive.org/web/20100426125115/http://www.mattmcdole.com/boat/

I've acquired a 40ft sailboat. Should be sufficient for me and my cat (Ender).

What do I need to be a sailor/programmer? I have a basic sailing knowledge... so I'll wing that part. But the programming! THAT requires some juice which as I understand, is in short supply on long voyages.

So what do I need SO? A genset and some fuel? Would solar be enough to charge a single laptop? What about internet connection out there, got to be something?

So, my question is, what kind of setup should I create to sling code on the high seas?

So while it seems similar to me, Expats.SE is probably a reasonable place to ask this kind of question. I would argue this is an issue anyone living in the Canary Islands might experience and would be off topic. Others on the board would argue that this is really an issue that an expat would be more likely to need help about understanding. The others tend to be winning this battle and I think

"How to get phone and Internet service in a rural location in Spain"

or probably better Canary Islands instead of Spain, would be fine.

  • lol. I can kinda see how this looks similar. But no, it's serious. And nice to see the boat programming question is still around, I thought it was dead!
    – Pekka
    Mar 25, 2014 at 11:46
  • -1 because I'm disappointed in the direction the site evolved. It strongly limited it's usefullnes for me, and I think restricting topic too much will make it for the site much harder to leave beta.
    – user41
    Feb 11, 2015 at 10:17

Seems on-topic to me. Yes, locals would have the same issue, but they would have neighbors who speak their language to ask. And they would already know the specific locations where the question matters.

On the question itself:

(1) I’ve heard of cell service from satellite. I know nothing else, but I’m sure it’s expensive and therefore would need quality to keep customers.

(2) you could visit the numerous websites set up for finding contacts in other places and try to find locals who could answer. The list is huge; a few examples: servas.org couchsurfing.org italki.com helpx.org warmshowers.org mylanguageexchange.net

(3) ask some religious organization if they have a missionary there that you could ask.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .