Saturday, February 19, 2011

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Internet In Lebanon: The Worst In The World

For the past two weeks I’ve been jumping from one Lebanese skiing resort to another—between Faraya and the Cedars. On those occasions I got to stay for a couple of days at the best hotels in either location. As a skiing-enthusiast and an good skier, I really enjoyed the trips. Also being with my lovely girlfriend, Zeina (a.k.a “Thee”), and teaching her how to ski, turned ordinary skiing trips to the best ones I’ve ever had.

e5473_cedars-lebanonDuring all that time, access to an internet connection was not possible, except on my last trip. Last Monday my family and I stayed at the Officers Club in the Cedars, which is one of the best hotels in that region. The place was very nice—everything from the rooms, the food, room service, house keeping, and the overall hospitality were top-notch. And what made the place even better was the fact that there was free wireless internet connection—especially since “Thee” did not accompany me on that trip.

imagesAfter unpacking my stuff, and giving the place a quick look, I turned-on my laptop and launched Firefox. Usually when I do that at home, my homepage—Google—loads in less than a second. Over at the hotel it took almost A MINUTE! Yes, believe it or not the GOOGLE homepage took almost 60 seconds to load. I said to myself this is normal. A lot of guests must be logged in, and the bandwidth is being shared by all of them. Also, since in Lebanon internet connections are very primitive—still in the range from 128 kbps to 1 Mbps—it was normal to have such a slow access to the web. The connection was so tedious that I tried to download a random file from the ne,t and the download speed maxed at 0.7 KBs(this is not a typo, the speed was LESS THAN 1 KILOBYTE PER SECOND!) I switched off my laptop in desperation, and decided to wait until after midnight, when most guests would be asleep, in order to use the internet.

Around 2:00am that night I gave it another shot; and guess what? The connection was even worse; no page could be accessed in less than a couple minutes. I decided to run a bandwidth speed test just for the hell of it. I ran the test using the website Besides the terrible results I got—4.1 Kilobits per second—the test revealed an additional sad fact regarding internet connections in Lebanon.



In brief, internet in Lebanon, in terms of download speed, is the worst in the world! The download speed of internet connections in Lebanon ranks 185th on a list of 185 countries. As for the upload speed, we rank 184th!

I’ve always known that our internet connection is pretty bad. However, I’ve never really imagined that we could be the worst in the world. Also if you consider the pricing of the packages offered by the Lebanese ISPs the matter gets even more pathetic—I’m not going to write about the pricing issue of internet connections in Lebanon because I believe it deserves a post all by itself.

When will Lebanon acquire a respectable internet infrastructure, nobody knows. I believe the ISPs are the only ones with the answer. and as long as they’re profiting from this monopoly, I’m certain Lebanon will still be lurking in the 185 for quite some time.


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