Internet Services at Home
It is hard to imagine a contemporary home without satellite or cable television and high-speed internet connection. And although these services are available in the vast majority of apartments put up for rent in Moscow, it is always a good idea to make sure that the speed of the internet connection is high enough and particular TV channels are available via satellite or cable.
The higher the category of the residential building is—and, consequently, the rent—the higher is the probability that a leaseholder won’t have to deal with getting connected to the internet or satellite/cable television.
“Basically, all elite apartments have internet access and satellite television,” Georgy Dzagurov, general director of Penny Lane Realty, told PASSPORT. “Services of this kind are normally included in the rent, and their impact on the total rent is insignificant.”
Other players in the segment agree that these days internet connection and satellite/cable television are considered basic services and don’t add anything to the total rent for a property.
“Based on our experience, the availability of internet and satellite television in an apartment doesn’t have an impact on the rent, as those are considered essential services,” Polina Ivanchenko, a senior relocation consultant at Four Squares, told PASSPORT.
Meanwhile, according to Galina Tkach, director of the rental department at IntermarkSavills, the availability of high-speed internet connection may sometimes be one of the decisive factors for a prospective leaseholder considering renting a property. “Situations when customers refuse to rent a property because it is not possible to establish an internet connection or they are not satisfied with the speed of the connection offered by the existing provider, take place quite often,” she told PASSPORT. “Normally, this is the case with country houses.”
According to Dzagurov, what often makes a difference for leaseholders, are the specifics regarding the internet connection and television, such as the speed of connection and the availability of particular TV channels. “For instance, foreigners require that TV channels in their native language should be available,” he noted.
These days, times when people had to access the internet using a dial-up modem and a phone landline, seem to be remote past. And perhaps all residential buildings within city limits have an ADSL internet connection—or a dedicated line that is different from a phone landline. And just about any apartment could be connected to the service. There are several main providers, such as the “big three” mobile phone operator Beeline or NetByNet.
They normally offer similar packages, and a basic plan with a fixed monthly fee of around 450 roubles ($15) would give you access to unlimited traffic at a speed that is sufficient for what a regular internet user normally does: surfing the web, watching videos or using Skype.
Those uploading or downloading huge amounts of data could switch to a more expensive plan with a higher connection speed. Unlike some other internet options, including a service that has been recently promoted by the city’s main landline telephone operator, MGTS, a regular ADSL connection doesn’t require any extra equipment, only a cable that goes directly to your computer, and the procedure of getting connected is short and simple.
Another option is wireless internet, or wi-fi. All you need is a wi-fi adapter, which is installed on all contemporary desktops and laptops. However, the area where your apartment or house is has to be within a zone of coverage by a provider of the service. Wi-fi internet may be the only option for residents or country houses in residential compounds where broadband connection would be uneconomical. Most higher-class residential compounds in Moscow Oblast have a wireless internet connections.
When it comes to television, foreign leaseholders are primarily interested in channels in foreign languages that in Moscow are available only via cable or satellite. One of the country’s main satellite operators, Cosmos TV, offers a range of channels in English, from Animal Planet, BBC World and CNN to Eurosport and Discovery Civilization. German speakers have fewer options, just Deutsche Welle and Euronews. The French channels available are TV5, MCM, AB Moteurs, Mezzo and Euronews. Some channels in other languages are also available.
Foreign-language channels are included in either the Basic package with a monthly subscription fee of 585 roubles ($19) or the Elite package (1075 roubles/$35 a month). To receive Cosmos TV channels, one needs a decoder that could be purchased or rented from the provider.
According to Tkach, satellite TV packages from Cosmos TV are the most popular among foreign leaseholders, as the provider offers the widest choice of channels in foreign languages, while Russians normally opt for NTV+.
NTV+ also offers some foreign-language channels in its Basic Plus package with a subscription fee of 750 roubles ($25) a month, but the selection is not that wide.
Meanwhile, those who would like to receive channels not included in the providers’ packages could try installing a satellite dish that would receive a signal from satellites such as Astra. However this is more complicated.
“Certainly, there could be a case when a leaseholder would want to have satellite television from a particular provider—for instance, one that could receive channels from a particular part of the world in a particular language,” Yekaterina Batynkova, director of the elite property department at Est-a-Tet, told PASSPORT. “That would certainly require the installation of extra equipment.”
Batynkova went on to explain that the installation of an extra satellite dish may be a problem in case it would have to face a particular direction for better reception. She added that the installation of satellite dishes on some buildings or their particular areas may be prohibited by municipal authorities. There are a number of companies in the market offering this kind of satellite dishes. Still, to be able to receive a signal from a particular satellite, a dish will have to be installed on a building’s roof rather than its side, and it is sometimes prohibited as well.
In any case, if it happens that an apartment doesn’t have an internet or satellite connection, or the leaseholder would want to have a higher speed internet connection or extra TV channels, the first person they should address is landlord. The latter should then figure out what options are available for a particular building and upon discussion with the leaseholder, sign an agreement with a provider.
It is a normal practice that all costs pertaining to connecting an apartment to the internet, cable or satellite are covered by the landlord, while the leaseholder is responsible for monthly payments, Dzagurov said.
Technically, a tenant could get connected to the internet or satellite television even without consulting the landlord. “There are no restrictions on connecting satellite television or internet,” Tkach said. “This could even be done by the leaseholder without any help from the landlord. All they need to do is to sign an agreement with a provider and purchase required equipment. But, as a rule, the landlord signs an agreement to their name, and the leaseholder pays the subscription fee.”
However, it is always advisable to discuss issues like that with the landlord first. “It is better to get approval for any changes in the apartment from the landlord,” Batynkova said. “In most cases, landlords react to such situations with understanding. As a rule, problems that may arise have to do with a technology solution.”
Problems may only arise if the landlord is out of town, but in such a case the estate agent could step in and take care of the situation.
“Based on our company’s experience, there are few issues that cannot be resolved, and in the end, interested parties always come to mutual agreement,” Batynkova concluded.