Internet Service Providers in Belgium

By andrew - June 8, 2010 (Updated: May 9, 2016)

Bringing the internet home

Bringing the internet home

Our ‘Web Guy’ takes a look at how to choose an internet service provider in Belgium.

Most expats wouldn’t dream of living without internet access. We’re becoming more and more connected with our iPhones/smartphones, netbooks and now iPads/tablets. I’ve mentioned how important computers are to expats in my article, “Computer Shopping in Belgium,” but what use is a computer without access? For expats, high-speed (or broadband) internet access is as important as a telephone, maybe even more.

Our expat life is manageable because of the internet and even a day without access can be very disruptive. So how do you know what service provider to choose in Belgium?

There are 3 main ways broadband access is delivered to Belgian homes: the telephone network, the cable network, or a wireless network.

The companies providing internet access over the telephone network will use terms such as ADSL, ADSL2+, or VDSL2.  If you run into these acronyms don’t panic, just pay attention to the upload and download speeds.

Cable networks use different technologies too, but you don’t often hear about their acronyms – they just focus on speed.

Wireless networks are fast evolving to become the ‘new’ broadband, offering fewer wires and faster activation, albeit with slower speeds than telephone or cable networks (though this is changing with new technologies). Also, a number of mobile telephone operators are offering internet packages that use their 3G networks which is useful if you are often on the move.

How to choose an internet provider

Internet service providers in Belgium

Which type of service you pick depends on how you will use it. For the vast majority of people, any type of broadband will enable you to check out your favorite web sites, email, chat, and use VoIP services like Skype.  If you plan to spend a lot of time watching videos on sites like YouTube, playing games with friends around the world, or just want the fastest access possible then you should opt for the ‘fixed’ networks (telephone or cable).

Another consideration is how much data you are going to download. Most plans offered by internet companies in Belgium have data usage limits on them, although there are a number of packages appearing now that offer ‘unlimited’ downloads.  If you frequently visit media rich sites (such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc) or you want to avoid worrying about usage limits, then an ‘unlimited’ option may be the right choice. If your main use for the internet is email and the occasional video, then you probably don’t need to worry about usage caps.

Some providers may offer packages combining internet, TV, telephony, mobile, and, recently, mobile internet. If you prefer to have one bill and maybe leverage your purchasing a bit, then this might be worth investigating.

Options for Belgian Internet Providers

Fixed Line

  • Belgacom – As the incumbent telephone operator throughout Belgium, Belgacom can provide Internet service just about anywhere. Belgacom’s broadband packages offer download speeds between 2Mbps and 20Mbps and recently added unlimited usage as an option.
  • Scarlet – Recently acquired by Belgacom (February 2008), Scarlet now uses the Belgacom network and offers similiar packages, although they tend to be less expensive.  A note of caution: the price you see posted assumes you already have a phone line.
  • Telenet – The largest cable operator in Belgium, they service customers mainly in Flanders and parts of Brussels. Current offerings include download speeds between 4Mbps and 100Mbps with a mixture of data usage options.
  • Numericable – Formerly known as Coditel, Numericable offers broadband packages in the core of Brussels with speeds between 4Mbps and 30/100Mbps.
  • VOO – A cable operator that serves Wallonia and parts of Brussels, they offer speeds between 2Mbps and 15Mbps.
  • Billi – A new business (Feb 2010) that advertises Internet (DSL), Phone, and TV services in the Brussels/Wallonia regions. Interesting new offer includes WebTV for 10 channels, meaning you can get TV on your PC, laptop, iPad, etc.
  • dommel – Provides download speeds between 4 and 20Mpbs over the telephone network.
  • cybernet – Provides download speeds between 4 and 20Mbps over the telephone network.
  • EDPnet – Provides download speeds between 4 and 24Mbps over the telephone network.
  • Base – Provides download speeds between 1 and 12Mbps over the telephone network.


  • Clearwire – If you’re in the heart of Brussels and you need to get up and running quickly, Clearwire offers download speeds between 1 and 3Mbps. The coverage is always evolving so if you need internet ASAP you might want to check their availability in your area. Although this service is wireless, it is still tied to a modem so it’s not really mobile (although you can move the modem); if you need true mobility, then consider the mobile internet offerings from mobile operators or subscribe to a WiFi Hotspot plan. Note: with Clearwire you will sign up for a term contract that will cost you 50% of your remaining contract to terminate early.
  • Proximus – The Belgacom mobile group, offers various mobile and netbook wireless internet packages using the existing 3G mobile network.
  • Telenet – Provides mobile internet options using the Mobistar 3G network.  Telenet also boasts an extensive WiFi hotspot network.
  • Mobistar – Provides various mobile internet options using their 3G mobile network.

The above is not an exhaustive list and is only focused on private consumers.  There are other providers that use the telephone network, other mobile operators that provide mobile internet, and even dial-up solutions if you’re desperate. The following are a few other links that might be of interest:

In our time in Belgium, we’ve used a number of the above providers and each has their positives and their negatives.  What has been your experience?  Are there other operators that should be considered?

Looking for more resources for living in Belgium? Check out our Expat Resources page.

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Andrew is our resident tech-geek and is normally found lurking behind the scenes on doing things with code that Alison finds mysterious. He comes out of hiding occasionally to write about history and technology. He is also part of the duo that produces Tech Brew, a podcast about beer and technology in Belgium. He loves castles, driving on narrow, twisty mountain roads and relaxing with a glass of peaty Scotch. Follow Andrew on Google+
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  1. Comment by Unexpected Traveller

    Unexpected Traveller June 8, 2010 at 19:08

    What a lovely case of serendipity! I just thought to myself this very morning that perhaps I should look around to see if I can get a better deal on my ‘net connection.

    I currently have VOO Internet with unlimited usage and am rather happy with the speed although the billing nazis are quick to cut your Internet off if you’re late paying the bills. Up until recently, my company paid the bill but now that I have to do so myself, I’m considering going for a cheaper option.

    I used to use Clearwire without any problems for a year or so after having arrived and would happily return to them but if a similar price can give me better speed, then so be it. I do not need to be mobile right now so there’s no advantage there.

    Am curious about the 3G connections – probably too expensive but it is intriguing nonetheless.

    Thanks for this!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison June 9, 2010 at 09:26

      Glad you found it helpful! If you have any specific questions, Andrew can probably help you out as that’s his field of expertise 🙂

      PS It was great meeting you guys on the weekend!

    • Comment by Andrew

      Andrew June 9, 2010 at 10:12

      Thanks for the comments! VOO isn’t alone in being quick to cut off service if you are late paying. If you expect to be late paying, you might try calling them to tell them when you will be paying… you won’t avoid the late fee, but you may avoid the disconnection.

      VOO does seem to have cheaper options but it will depend on your surfing habits. If you have a phone and TV you may find it cheaper to bundle it all into one provider. Your options for providers are likely restricted to VOO and then one of the operators that use the telephone network (Belgacom, Scarlet, etc).

      Mobile (3G) connections are great if you are on the go a lot and absolutely need to stay connected. You can typically buy an adapter for your laptop that will allow it to use the 3G network. However, the speeds aren’t great for the moment and the data costs are relatively high. It’s not bad for a smart device like an iPhone or Blackberry, but once you connect your laptop you will likely find you start using a lot more data and running up additional costs.

      If you are looking for connectivity in one or two places, check out the WiFi locations for Telenet, Belgacom, and other WiFi hotspot operators (like BT, Trustive, WERoam, Orange, iPass, Boingo, etc).

      Hope this helps 🙂

      Andrew C

  2. Comment by Nomadic Chick

    Nomadic Chick June 8, 2010 at 19:22

    Although I don’t live in Belgium, this was still a very informative post on how internet access works overall. Thanks for this!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison June 9, 2010 at 09:27

      Glad you found it helpful. I have to be honest and say that I leave this stuff up to the web guy 🙂 If I turn on my computer and it works, I’m a happy girl. I don’t really care why it works 🙂

      • Comment by Andrew

        Andrew June 9, 2010 at 10:14

        That’s not true… you know more than you let on! Besides, nothing in our house works properly… it’s part of living with a geek… everything’s in the state of being ‘repaired’ or ‘upgraded’. 🙂

    • Comment by Andrew

      Andrew June 9, 2010 at 10:13

      Thanks! Glad you liked it!

  3. Comment by Charlie's Tribe

    Charlie's Tribe June 10, 2010 at 10:21

    Very useful information, Alison. I’ve printed it out to keep in a safe place. It’s been on my list to look into changing our provider for… oh… ages. (Oops)

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison June 10, 2010 at 11:10

      We’ve been through a couple of different ones now so if you have any specific questions just drop me an email.

  4. Comment by Amy

    Amy June 21, 2010 at 12:33

    Ooh internet in Belgium! One of our favorite topics to complain about. 🙂 We have Telenet which is super expensive and the wifi stopped working 2 months in. Every time we tried to call them the info was only in Flemish. Maybe one day we’ll get off our lazy bums and switch, in which case I will definitely be referring to this handy list. Thanks!

    And with any luck, maybe they’ll eventually come up with a plan like the Freebox in France which is 30 euros for internet, TV and phone (including free calls to most countries in the world.)

    • Comment by Andrew

      Andrew June 21, 2010 at 13:21

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for commenting! Unfortunately you don’t know what the service is going to be like until you get it… and then you’re tied in for a year at least. A lot of broadband companies only really want to support you up to the gateway; WiFi or home network trouble would fall out of their area of responsibility. For such things, I believe that Telenet has a paid for service you can call but it’s not cheap either.

      Regarding your specific problem, it’s hard to say what might be causing your issues with WiFi… drop me an email (via the contact form) with more details if you think I can help.


  5. Comment by Andrew


    Andrew December 9, 2010 at 15:02

    Just added Billi ( to the list… a new operator I heard about in Brussels/Wallonia. They have offers for Internet, Voice, and TV. What may also be interesting for those who are mobile is they are expanding their offer to include WebTV (TV on your PC, laptop, mobile, etc). I haven’t seen it on their main site, but it was WebTV support was announced on Nov 25th. Could be interesting if you’re commuting by train.

  6. Comment by River Hustad

    River Hustad May 31, 2011 at 10:51

    Hi, This was a great summary of Internet services–the best I’ve found. Am I correct in understanding that the only real option for unlimited service is Belgacom?

    We have a house full of geeks who do massive uploading and downloading, so limited payment plans are not really an option (unless we want to have a heart attack when the bill arrives).

    We have Belgacom’s unlimited service now via telephone line and the wi-fi box, but we want to get away from Belgacom. Their billing system will not accept our international SWIFT transfers for some reason (they do accept it and we pay other bills this way, but transfers to Belgacom always come back as undeliverable), which causes a delay in payment going through our Belgian account and then to Belgacom (our only option from our foreign employers is to be paid via our home country accounts). And, of course, even though we are always assured by the customer reps. that they will not, Belgacom shuts off the Internet the day the payment was due and charges a 50 Euro surcharge to turn it on again (I’ve given up trying to reverse these charges–they won’t do it even with an audio recording of a customer rep before the shut off which says they have registered the payment problem and will not shut off the service).

    We use a foreign IP telephone for a land line, have foreign satellite TV, and plan to switch to Mobistar mobile phones (from Belgacom–we’re getting a discount package for Mobistar through our work). We use the land line telephone wire today for the Belgacom service. We don’t use a cable wire, but I think there is one in the house. Any suggestions for a Internet provider?

    (…and what you said about geek homes and nothing being fully operational is very true. We’ve only have one PC that we bought, but have five other functional ones and a practical warehouse in the attic. Our kids are constantly getting “old” PCs from friends and relatives who have traded up and thought their “old” one was junk. Our kids spend just as much time stripping old PCs for better hardware, installing upgrades, and figuring out work-arounds than they do using the PCs. I think working on PCs is the new working on cars from the 1950s-60s).

    • Comment by Andrew


      Andrew May 31, 2011 at 12:06

      Hi River,

      Thanks for your comments! I appreciate the feedback and I understand your dilemma. With Alison’s digital work and remote backups we have a lot of bandwidth needs as well. Internet packages have really improved over the last 6 years, so you should be able to find what you need.

      You don’t say where you are located, but it shouldn’t matter. If you look at the cable operators in your region (Numericable, Voo, Telenet) they all seem to have unlimited usage options. Likewise with the Telephone networks… a quick check of Scarlet and Billi showed me that they are both offering unlimited packages. Take a look at their websites and look for the ‘illimite’ (french) or ‘onbeperkt’ (dutch) options. Be sure to check out their terms and conditions so that you understand the limitations of the ‘unlimited’ packages. 🙂

      As for whether to pick cable or telephone … for most people it won’t matter. If you are a heavy downloader, then cable currently has the upper hand with speeds as high as 100Mbps. I can’t say the billing systems will be any better though!

      I hope this helped a bit! Good luck and do let us know how you get on!

      Andrew C

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