Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Open Letter to the Lebanese Minister of Internet

Dear Minister of Telecommunications in Lebanon,

Allow me to tell you the date today: February 23, 2010... Kindly concentrate on the last part... We're in 2010... Not 1985... As I write this, speedtest.net tells me that my internet connection's speed is... Well you can see it to the right... Can you see that ping latency!?!? I mean even with the Lebanese security and Mossad watching me, that's still a high latency of 1.4 seconds... No?!? And that's from Beirut to Damascus... Al okht Damascus is only what?? Ten minutes away?!!? Cause the transatlantic latency between San Francisco and Hong Kong is actually 0.15...  New York to London is seeing a 0.077 currently!! And seeing that we're warming up to our Brethren Syrians, you'd think Mr. Jumblat will be requiring a faster internet connection to command center in Damascus... 

What's worse is what you would get if you check network performance averages (see right)... You see where I currently stand and where the world stands!!?? And Mr. Minister... I work for a web technology company... WE NEED fast internet... We need to deploy our developments to clients' networks; we need to connect to servers around the world; we need to download resources to use in our day to day work; we need to attend webinars to learn new issues; we need (but we don't cause who are you kidding) to video conference with clients and suppliers... 

And for a person like me, I NEED to work... In order to do that, I need to be done with reading the newspapers daily brainwashing me into who I'm supposed to hate and who to love of you politicians... I need to be done with checking where all my friends sihroo mbere7, and who managed to get reservations where on Facebook... I shouldn't have to have lunch break to leave youtube open to stream a two minute video clip and return from lunch two hours later and it's still buffering?!?! When playing games online, I always lose because of the slow internet connections, and so I find myself compulsed to replay these games to try and win... HOW do you expect me to work under such conditions with such a slow internet connection??! How?!?!

Now, just to be fair, I don't like you par default bisabbabb myoolak... ill siyessiyeh (yalli kamen bte3koss myool tenyeh) bass anyways, I tried to give you a chance as I did petit Bassil, who after so much time in the ministry did.... (scary movie music) NOTHING!!! The internet speeds in Lebanon still suck... Our mobile network stumbled from bad to worse with absolutely no additional services introduced, and we're still paying one of the highest rates of internet in Lebanon... So I pay $45 for a 0.5Mbps connection... The US according to this (I'm not even gonna attempt to compare myself to Japan (we need 20 nuclear bombs dropped on us to get their drive)) is paying $3.3 for a 4.8Mbps connection?!?! IS THIS SANE???!? 

I know ya ma3ali ill wazzeer inno ill tirkeh t2eeleh (mitil damm honeek 3alam, but let's not go there) but what are YOU doing about it?!??! Petit Bassile promised us early 2009 that we will get TWENTY (read twenty) times faster internet sometime in the spring of last month... We still await... Ba3dein according to my friend Charles, we're supposed to hook on some other internet line and get faster connections in mid-2009... I don't await... I learnt not to have high expectations anymore... 

When are all these promises going to come true in realization of the potential that the Lebanese have when they get better hooked on the internet?!? A proper internet connection is no longer a luxury... It is a right... And I know we lack so many basic rights already, say electricity, but this is something TRIVIAL that we could overcome and quick... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


Someone who has very high doubts he'd ever vote for you if you run for office... 


  1. ambivalent whether i should laugh or whether i should cry...
    Very well said tk!!

  2. You're right Lara, it's sad, but I'm actually on my knees ! :P

    TK, fishaytelli khil2e ! 3a fikra, hejir 3a Finland ... lahza wait the link is still opening... oops ok here you go : http://bit.ly/bvn9f5

  3. Ok! Well first i'm completely disappointed with our local connections. You can't have a descent connection here in a leb and it's really frustrating.
    If i should blame some1 it would b all our x prime ministers in telecom and treasury.(means orange bleu and jounblat parties sorry bass jounblat ma ba3rif chou lawno:D). They are all responsible.

    As a network admin, i'd think we have one weak optical backbone. In order to increase the amount of bandwidth of zis backbone u need money good planing and time. wala element bi ra2yeh mawjoud. In z past few years, they concentrated on end users by implemented dsl in order get revenues while omitting a good traffic delivery. :( Sad fact but true.

    My need is a 10 mb/s connection with a real ip and no limitation. I have barely a 256k unlimited traffic p2p restricted surely with no real ip.Believe it or not, other countries R reachin @ z moment z 1 G :S

    All traffic in lebanon is passing throw Ogero. Things should change. I'd b happy hearing some suggestions some solutions.

    Lebanese R good in criticisms in pointing @ problems without suggesting a solution or solving it

  4. Ok... Your point that the Lebanese are good criticizing and not suggesting a solution: VERY true... That is what I did here... But seeing that I am not a network specialist and O lack the knowledge needed, I'm not going to nazzir 3al 3alam and present solutions...

    What I do know, as you said, that we have limited connections to the outside world and the Feb story of last year was that we were going to tie up to Syria and Jordan (again, not sure of the mechanism) in order to increase bandwidth...

    In this post, I criticized the fact that we did NOT do that... Petit Bassil announced it, said it was going to cost the government nothing (read the linked sites) and yet nothing happened...

    A certain genre of people in Lebanon, also like to criticize, not give credit when it's due, and take credit when not due (read above) and blame one certain position which is the Prime Minister... I DISAGREE with that approach, because the decision of the council of ministers and the prime minister, first stem from the minister and are then approved by the Prime Minister and the President... So you can't just always blame the Prime Minister... I could blame all the explosions that happened on the Minister of Interior using that logic, but I'm sure you'll agree with me that that is illogical... (Be that as it may, the Prime Ministers of past and present have failed the Lebanese on so many levels... I'm not saying they are saints, but you can't blame them 3al tali3 will nezzil as people still blame loads of issues like the debt for example on Rafic Hariri)

    Hala2 according to the link fo2 Petit Bassil said "that the Lebanese government will not spend any money from its pocket on this cable" so you can't blame the Ministry of Finance or the Prime Minister for this... And if THEY were to blame, I assure you we would have never heard the end of it on tayyar.org and orange media... I, personally, would have backed Bassil if that was the case... Also, he should have raised the issue to the attention of the people that look, I'm trying to introduce an issla7 here, but Hariri or Siniora back then is not allowing it..." But Bassil didn't do that... Instead the country was at a standstill because he should become minister again, and that Aoun DEMANDED the Minsitry of Telecom...

    WORST PART IS, to date, no one knows why we're still lagging behind so much in the telecom field, and no one knows why the internet is so slow, or why the upgrade mentioned above did not happen...

  5. Well I know that many things happened and changed in telecom business 4 better during z past 3 years more than z last 2 decades.

    Joubran bassil ma3 7ofz el alkab is no longer in telecom sector. You can't say it wasn't a bright period than ever.

    We hav a big gap right. Things can't move on with just a click.

  6. OH on that one I DEFINITELY disagree...

    During Bassil's era all he managed to do was: grow a beard!

    Yes the telecom sector was bad before he came along (I would actually trace it back to a person who I blame for billions of dollars of debt: Jean Louis Qurdahi, who in my opinion is one of the most stupid ministers we ever had), but you can't say he did anything good... If anything, in my opinion, he made things worse...

    Gebran Bassil did not introduce Blackberry to Lebanon... Edge which is the backbone technology was available before he came along...
    Bassil reduced the calling rates, yes, thus causing the Ministry of Finance's revenues to decrease and the need for Lebanon to borrow more, mazboot (but you'll never hear someone say that he was mass2ool 3an zyeditt ill dein) bass with the decrease of the prices comes a rise in demand on services, because economically when things become cheaper, people want more... Were our networks upgraded to cope with the rise in mobile and data traffic? NO! I work in Berytech in Mansourieh and i have no reception... I live in Jnah next to Marriott and I have no reception... When I am in a part where there is reception the call quality is HORRIBLE and many times the line just disconnects because my phone would tell me of "Network Error" or "Connection Error." I also remember that calling was a hassle where you work!! :)

    I'm not gonna delve into how he turned Alfa into a family business and started hiring his relatives and friends fiyya... There are plenty of news articles for that...

    I just realized I rambled on for ages on the mobile network... On the internet front, well nothing happened either, no? ADSL was introduced during Hmedeh's era (and I ASSURE YOU that is no compliment to him...) and since ADSL was introduced no changes to prices or bandwidth happened... So unless you want to thank Marwan Hmeideh for introducing ADSL, you can't thank Bassil for the spreading of ADSL accross centrales all over Lebanon...

    What say you?!

  7. Well:S we have 2 opposite opinions. I respect yours.
    As I know the total income in gsm sector increased with z decrease in prizes.
    Your right the implementation was not well planned we had a congestion in most of the time. But things went back 2 track 6 months later.
    Concerning the adsl subject, 4 ur info z equipments were available and installed partially 6 years if not more b4 z implementation.
    Q was what is z reason 4 zis lag?

  8. Serge, you'll notice fo2, I said inno akeed akeed I will NOT give credit to the ADSL deployment to Marwan Hmeideh, and I am with you on wondering why the lag?!

    About the other issues, I disagree cause mobile reception is still almost inexistent where I work, where I live and disconnects a lot in other places... Wu ntorr for the summer, when expats and tourists flood the place wu bisseer mitil 2yemitt ill 7arb baddak tontor ta tekhodd khatt!

    Anyways, the main point is what you concluded with which is the lag... Why "zis" lag?? I wonder too... And I hope someone can tell us why to date we have the fifth worse internet connection in the world and no one is doing anything about it...

  9. Tarek ur in berytech :D My uni
    u will never get good coverage over there ur directly under z transmitter ur inz blank area unless waves install also a transmiter this issue wont b fixed :)it's a technical prob.

  10. *closes browser and writes letter of resignation to senior:

    Dear senior,

    I find myself compelled to submit my letter of resignation because there is no network coverage in the area. This apparently is caused cause we're really close to the transmitter which works counter intuitively to my understanding that the closer I am, the better the reception!

    Furthermore, it appears that my company should be installing some antenna thing, and not the Ministry of Telecom, and as you have not done so, and I need to run outside everytime my phone rings, I find it impossible to work under such harsh conditions.

    It is with regret that I part ways with you, but you know ill waddi3, plus according to my friend Sergio, it's your fault, not petit Bassil or the current leftist!

    Best regards,


  11. 4 ur info a gsm transmitter can't send signals underneath of it;)

  12. and for your info, the two mobile operators have a legal contractual obligation to cover all Lebanese territory!!!

  13. please send me your email,

  14. I think u "we" need a follow-up letter :P

    el 7al men ba3do ya 3ammy, cheer up. :D



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