New Internet Subscription System Angers Egyptians

New Internet Subscription System Angers Egyptians

The preparations for applying a new system for reducing the price of Internet access through the high-speed Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) in Egypt in return for curbing the browsing capacity, enraged broad sections of web users and experts. Some saw in it a scheme for curbing weblogs.


The plan which will take effect next September cuts 256 kilobyte Internet subscription to 45 pounds ($8) a month instead of 90 pounds, with limiting the user”s capacity to only 2 gigabytes a month, including downloading and browsing, and that users pay extra 10 pounds for every 1 gigabyte a month .


Fighting Connections


According to a statement from the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, the main target from these measures is apparently fighting the widespread phenomena of connections in Egypt. Most web users hire a connection from a neighboring Internet cafe for 35 pounds a month, or a subscriber distributes connections to his neighbours- up to ten, and divide the subscription cost among them .


Dr. Amr Badawi. CEO. National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority confirmed in a phone call with that:” The connection phenomenon hurt”s Egypt”s international ranking and weakens the quality of the service”. He defended restricting the capacity, saying ” Restricting the capacity to 2 gigabytes came after studies showing that every Egyptian family”s average web use is 1.5 gigabytes a month.


Badawi said the state has to support the Internet, adding ” but we will not support those who download movies and games from the Internet ” .


Regarding speeds other than the 256 kilobytes, Badawi defended leaving them up to companies to give various offers, without specifying a maximum price, stating that “Egypt is witnessing a free economy ” and that ” the competition of eight companies in the market ensures not highly raising prices”.


He saw as misestimating the web users fearing the consequence of this, saying” let”s give the new system a chance and allow the market to correct its mechanisms”.


Badawi dismissed rumors around specifying the web browsing to 60 hours a month, saying ” this was just a an example which I gave in the press conference to those who can”t get the giga measures and Internet capacity”.


Web meter


Badwai”s statements did not pacify web users who likened the new decision to creating ” a meter for the Internet ” like water meter and electricity meter, and they threatened with boycotting in case it takes effect.


Basma Ayman, a university student, said that she will not stop her connection from ” a neighboring café. Despite the bad service, the proposed system has more disadvantages”. Ahmed Al Masri, owner of an Internet café, said that ” the new system will force us into doubling prices on customers”.


For his part, Dr. Hisham Nabih Al Mahdi, an assistant professor of Information Technology at Cairo University described the new system as ” a big trap”.


While he considered the connections “unacceptable”, he demanded ” taking clear and well-studied steps and take views of the public because they are a part of the problem and part of the solution”.


Curbing Weblogs


By its role it attacked the information technology manager in Al Ahram organization doctor Ahmed Nassef, chairman of the IT at Al-Ahram, strongly attacked the decision. “There is no thing in the world called curbing the Internet, and the connections can”t be considered burglary.”, he said to Al-Jazeera. Net. How can a layman pay the cost of this service without sharing it with others?”.


Asked about Badawi”s statement that eight dollars a month is one of the cheapest prices internationally, Nassef said “We shouldn”t compare ourselves with the world because we are on of the world”s lowest-income countries. What can a citizen who gets less than 100 dollars a month do?”.


Nasef did not rule out that these decisions mainly aim at curbing Internet use after it has spread as a tool of opposition through weblogs. He called for seeking other solutions like legalizing the connections.