|Bassil plans to expand ADSL in Lebanon
|Telecommunications Minister Jebran Bassil said on Friday his ministry is working on the second phase of high-speed ADSL Internet expansion. Bassil, who was speaking at a press conference, disclosed that over the past 18 months, the number of ADSL subscribers rose to 58,000 and efforts are under way to increase the number in the coming two years.
The Telecommunications Ministry and state-owned OGERO Company have installed ADSL in 32 centers in Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, Zahle and some parts of Mount Lebanon.
But some experts say that ADSL is confined to certain areas in Lebanon while other regions are deprived of the service.
Official statistics show that the number of Internet subscribers in Lebanon is 330,000 but only eight percent of them have ADSL.
Many areas that do not have access to the ADSL rely on illegal cable Internet.
Lebanon was late in introducing ADSL, a service which became available in most countries in the Middle East five years ago.
Bassil said the ministry and OGERO are working on a new decree to improve the services of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Data Service Providers (DSPs).
He acknowledged that some ISPs complain that OGERO is unfairly competing with them.
"At present, there are five DSPs and seven ISPs in Lebanon and all of them are competing in terms of prices and services," the minister said.
The first phase of the plan involves the installation of ADSL in 13 phone centers in Beirut and its suburbs and will be completed by the end of October. The second phase will see the installation of ADSL in 27 centers in Byblos, Batroun and other regions in the north of the country.
Bassil hopes that by 2010 all phone centers will have ADSL.
"We hope that by 2010, nearly 80 percent of the land-line subscribers will have access in the fast Internet," he said.
He added that work is under way to create the long-awaited LibanTelecom company which will group the ministry and OGERO under one umbrella.
The Daily Star