There are two main cable providers in Panama, and they each offer Internet, phone and cable TV services. You can buy the services individually or you can have them bundled for a better rate. The companies are CableOnda and Cable and Wireless Panama. When setting up service, you will sign a contract for an agreed-upon amount of time, from three months to one year. The longer your contract, the cheaper per month your service. For example, you can get Internet starting at $20 per month by itself, but if you get a bundled service plan for one year, expect to pay $100-$200 per month for Internet, cable TV, and phone service, depending on the package you choose. You will also pay a nominal fee for deposit and installation, but these can often get waived if you put your monthly billing on a credit card.
Different connection speeds are offered at different prices. Just like elsewhere, the higher the speed, the more expensive it is each month. At the most basic speed (10 mbs), you can browse websites, watch streaming movies, and send emails without noticing the speed is slower than what you're used to. Unless you need a high-speed Internet connection for work, the only problem comes when you try to use a service like Skype for video calling. If you like to do a lot of video calling, consider a higher-speed connection. Base internet service costs approximately $30-$50 per month, unless you opt for the lightning fast connection.
Another Internet option is to use a wireless router. You can buy a router and hot spot combo device that's about the size of a cell phone for $125. You then charge it as you need it and pay by the day, from one day to 30 days. A full month of wireless Internet costs about $45 after tax, and a device can support up to five different devices. This is great for traveling around the country because it gives you wireless service in your car. The download speed is slower, which means Internet browsing can take a bit longer and video calls are likely to drop frequently, but it's great to have as a backup solution or if you plan to roam around the country a lot.
Many people don't have home phone service, especially if they live in an area with good cell phone coverage. I'm in an area with limited cell phone coverage and work out of my apartment so I needed a phone line I could count on. I have a home phone with unlimited calling, and when bundled into my other services, costs less than $20 per month.
Many people who move to Panama watch little or no television because there are so many other things to do. If you're a TV addict, don't worry, though, there are hundreds of channels you can watch. The lineup has many of the same things as you would expect--sports, cooking, news, adventure, reality, and nonstop movies. Some TV channels are in English with Spanish subtitles and some are in Spanish. But for non-Spanish speakers, there is still plenty to watch.
If you need customer service in English, just call the phone number and say, "Habla Ingles?" until you are connected to an English-speaking customer service representative. The beauty about capitalism is that it ensures there is always someone who speaks English to help take your money.