Monday, October 1, 2007

DSL in Lebanon: Only 11 hours a month

After many years of delay, DSL has finally arrived in Lebanon. The subscription rates are among the highest in the region, see also my previous article. Just to get a quick understanding of how bad the situation is in Lebanon: even Syria has cheaper and faster DSL.

And that’s not all. Every subscription option comes with a maximum of how much you can download. If you were to download only up to this maximum, you would have surprisingly little time to make use of your DSL connection: the most expensive option comes down to 11 hours a month of download time.

That’s right, less than half a day per month if you were to download non-stop. The following table shows you the maximum amount of time you have per each subscription plan:

Speed

Maximum hours

128

36

256

27

512

18

1 Gb

11


Table 1: Maximum hours of Internet per month at full speed


“Ah, but Riemer”, you might argue, “downloading non-stop, whoever does that?”. Well, suppose you want to download a movie in DVD quality. This would be some 4.5GB, which is already very close to the maximum allowed download of the highest price plan, which is set at a meager 5GB.

To sum it up: you pay almost 80 USD a month and you can hardly download 1 movie. That’s an expensive movie, alright.

But wait, there’s more. Suppose you don’t keep track exactly of how much you download and you exceed your limit. This is allowed, but your Internet provider will charge a penalty fee of 500 LL for every 10MB. That’s when the Lebanese mockery of DSL really starts hurting. Imagine you use your download limit to the max and do so 24/7. The result would be upsetting to say the least, see below table:

Speed

Penalty Fee in USD

128

450 USD

256

900 USD

512

1,800 USD

1 Gb

3,600 USD

Table 2: Penalty Fee in USD after exceeding limit


Yep, that’s right: you could pay up to 3,600 USD if you don’t keep track of your usage. The DSL providers are using the Gillette marketing technique: give away the razor and sell the blades. Of course, the Lebanese Internet providers don’t really give away the connection, and they sure as hell sell the blades, but that must be a leftover of the Phoenician trading skills.

Now, you might say that you don’t use the Internet all the time for downloading movies and such. But what about your neighbors? If you have wireless Internet (WiFi) and you don’t put a password on it, your neighbors can use your connection. And they can do so as much as they want at your expense...

So, even if you won’t ever reach the limit, that 16 year old kid next door could easily exceed it. And from Table 1 you can see just how fast exactly that would happen: after 11 hours only, you start paying the penalty fee.

The solution is simple: install monitoring software to keep track of your limit and make sure that you apply passwords in case you have wireless Internet. Do all this and you still pay way too much in subscription fees, but at least that will be all you pay.

3 comments:

AK said...

What a joke!

kheireddine said...

Whaaaat? Ya haram! !شو هالسرقة

Anonymous said...

The information is up to date as of last time I tried to subscribe to the lebanese DSL after I read the subscribtion fee I ran away. They sure don't make any sense who priced this fee. وبقولوا راجع يتعمر لبنان. كيف؟ اذا حتى المغترب ما بيقدر يدفع فاتورة الانترنت كيف شبابو بيتعلموا وبعمروا هالبلد