Ras al-Ain Internet: High costs for modest services

Internet network maintenance work in Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah - September 3, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Hussein Shaabo)

Internet network maintenance work in Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah - September 3, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Hussein Shaabo)

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Ras al-Ain – Hussein Shaabo

After the Internet service infrastructure was damaged over the long years of war in the border region of Ras al-Ain in the al-Hasakah countryside in northern Syria, the local administrative council launched a project to rebuild the fiber-optic infrastructure.

Military operations in the region resulted in the disruption of Internet services and the destruction of the network, forcing residents to rely on alternative networks that operate on private Internet receivers, which are inefficient with slowness and frequent interruptions of services.

Package prices higher than services provided

Majed Draiei, owner of a phone shop in Ras al-Ain, complained about frequent Internet outages in the area, which negatively affected his work in providing customers with telecommunications credit and maintaining phone systems that require a fixed connection to the Internet.

Draiei pays $18 per month for a 2 Mbps Internet line, which is considered a high cost for a service that is not good.

He considered that it is the duty of the local council to find solutions to Internet problems, control the prices of packages that increase the burden on residents, and operate the landline (fiber) and reactivate it at satisfactory prices.

Reason for the hike in prices

Adnan al-Shabo, a resident of Ras al-Ain, was forced to buy an Internet receiver and cable at a cost of $150 to secure an Internet network for his home.

However, he still finds it difficult to access reasonable packages from Internet providers in the region, as his current 1 Mbps subscription costs $9 per month, which he considers expensive for someone living on a limited income, according to what he told Enab Baladi.

Al-Shabo pointed out the need to have internet packages at more suitable prices for people with limited income in the region, considering that the end of the maintenance work carried out by the local council on the networks should provide the service.

Masoud Khattai, owner of a store that sells internet packages in Ras al-Ain, attributed the high prices of internet packages to the internet source from Turk Telekom, the Turkish state-run telecommunications company, which sells one megabyte to internet service providers at a price of $6, to which are added the costs of connecting and operating the Internet via receivers spread across the country network, which justifies selling megabytes at $9 to subscribers.

The population of Ras al-Ain is 115,000 people, and its area is 23,000 square kilometers. Its residents need the Internet for many sectors, such as money transfer companies, mobile phone stores, and others.

There is no specific mechanism to control Internet prices in Ras al-Ain as a result of the local council not intervening in regulating prices due to the presence of many companies supplying the Internet in the region.

Prices are determined by the companies supplying the Internet according to agreements between the supplier and the local distributor, as local distributors are considered the primary beneficiary of the rise in prices, and they obtain greater profits the higher the prices.

Two dollars per megabyte

Faisal al-Obaid, head of the services office in the Ras al-Ain Local Council, told Enab Baladi that the local council’s project aims to provide stable internet at high speeds in Ras al-Ain, as it relies on fiber optic technology, and aims to deliver the Internet to every home at an affordable cost.

According to al-Obaid, prices will start at $2 per megabyte, noting that the connection work is currently underway, and it is expected that subscriptions will be officially activated within just one month, and an office will be opened to serve subscribers in the city to meet their needs.

According to data from the SPEED TEST website for the month of June, Syria ranks fourth among the countries with the slowest Internet service in the world, with Internet speed reaching 4.11 megabits per second.

 

 

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