ISP upgrades ready 1 July, notwithstanding incumbent encumbrance

10 Jun 2014

Lebanon’s internet service providers (ISPs) are expected to have completed the necessary infrastructure upgrades to enable them to boost the data speeds and user volume caps for their existing broadband users on 1 July as per new, cheaper access plans recently stipulated by the Ministry of Telecoms (MoT). As reported by the Daily Star, from July an entry-level DSL plan remains priced at around USD16 (or LBP24,000 in local currency) but will double its download speed to 2Mbps while its monthly usage quota will be multiplied ten times to 40GB; for USD50 users can have unlimited data with a 2Mbps connection (compared to a previous cap of 20GB on the same monthly plan). The price of a 4Mbps package will drop from around USD75 to USD33, and its volume limit will be doubled to 50GB, while 6Mbps-8Mbps plans will drop from around USD113 to USD43, inclusive of 60GB data per month. Furthermore, excess data charges on all plans will be lowered to USD1.3 per GB, down from USD4.

The Daily Star quoted Maroun Chammas, chairman of IDM (sister ISP of Cyberia and data service provider GDS), as confirming that ISPs are on course to complete the upgrade of switch nodes, routers and servers alongside other technical improvements in compliance with the ministry’s orders to upgrade DSL packages. Crucially, however, it has not been confirmed whether the national PSTN operator Ogero will complete the necessary switch node improvements and capacity upgrades for its wholesale ISP users by 1 July to allow the new consumer packages to be launched nationwide. According to Chammas, the MoT informed the ISPs that it has sent a request to Ogero asking it to carry out the necessary upgrades before 1 July, but no update on progress has yet been provided.