Choose what is important to you
Shopping around before deciding on your provider is highly recommended – some companies have a great internet package but might not offer any TV channels in English. If this is a priority for you, make sure to check which channels are available, either on the website or with customer service. If you spend a lot of time streaming or downloading, it’s best to hand over the extra few euros per month for an unlimited option to ensure a continuous, reliable service.
Make sure your area is covered
Before you start comparing prices, ascertain which companies operate in your area. Some providers operate in parts of Brussels but not others; check their website to see if your address is compatible. Most companies offer internet on its own but also suggest packages that add TV, fixed-line telephone and even mobile use. Most also offer special starter discounts.
Companies to consider
Proximus (previously Belgacom) is the main telecom operator and its services are available throughout the country. It offers BBC1 and BBC2 as part of its basic package, with many other English-language channels offered as extras. It represents a good option for those not wanting to forsake their favourite shows from home. In Brussels it offers both French and Dutch-language channels as standard.
Internet alone: €25.50/100GB
Internet + TV + fixed telephone: from €57.95
Voo covers Wallonia and some of Brussels, and alongside the French and Dutch-language channels offers a good range of English ones, including BBC One to Four and several news channels, in its standard pack.
Internet alone: €24.95/100GB
Internet + TV: from €42.95
Numericable operates mainly in Brussels. Using the detailed map on its website, you can easily find out if your commune is served. Inhabitants of the Brussels commune (1000) are covered.
Internet alone: €29.90/50GB
Internet + TV+ calls: €59
Telenet provides broadband throughout Flanders and some of Brussels. It calls its packs ‘Shakes’, in case you’re confused!
Internet alone: €26/100GB
Internet + TV: €49.70
So you’ve chosen the company you want to go with. It should all be in order fairly soon, shouldn’t it? Not necessarily. It’s not uncommon to have to wait anywhere between a fortnight and a month for an appointment to get your connection activated by a technician.
Customer service can vary wildly even within although often helpful. Generally the Dutch-speaking staff will be comfortable speaking English, so it’s often easier to choose the Dutch option when you call.
The length of contracts used to be more of an issue in Belgium, but with the increasing number of expats coming and going, things are changing. Since 2012, any contract can be terminated provided you have paid the monthly subscription fee for at least six months. After six months, any customer can break the contract without incurring a penalty.
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