Gaza – Akram El Shafei – Safa
A state of astonishment struck many citizens in the Gaza Strip over the volume of communications and messages they received from Internet service distribution companies; To impress them with “enticing” offers.
Abdullah Ahmed, who lives west of Gaza City, told the “Safa” agency that he receives a lot of messages and communications and is exposed to many funded ads and others on social media platforms to persuade him to participate in internet offers.
He added: “With the end of the offer period, according to which I received home internet service via copper wires, I was overwhelmed with offers from companies and distributors to persuade me to subscribe to another offer at the same prices or slightly more for the same period.”
He explains that, while receiving the service, according to the expired subscription, he discovered that the speed at which he signed the contract was 8 megabytes / second for 58 shekels per month, but it did not reach his house as agreed, and ranges from 5 to just 6, and during peak times it decreases, accusing some companies of “manipulating words during presentations”.
The prices for providing internet service via copper wires range between 59 shekels for speeds up to 8 megabytes, and 174 shekels for speeds up to 100 megabytes per second, and between them there are many speeds at different prices.
“Abdullah” indicates that during his search for distributors for the service, he found out that a new service had started distributing, which is “Viber”, as it gives high speeds for lower amounts.
Fibernet is an Internet technology via optical fibers, and is used to transmit data with high performance without being influenced by external factors. It also enables the subscriber to achieve high download and upload speeds, without the need for an access line or a telephone line, and is best suited for modern applications such as interactive TV libraries and electronic video games.
The “Viber” service offers a “high download and upload speed” up to (1000 Mbit / s), with high quality and at lower prices than the current price compared to the traditional service, according to what service providers spoke to “Safa” .
The reality of the internet in Gaza
As for the internet situation, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Gaza told the “Safa” agency that it had opened the door to competition between companies providing internet services “to ensure that citizens provide these services at the highest quality and the lowest prize received. “
The Director General of Licensing at the Ministry, Ziad Al-Sheikh Deeb, explained that citizens can access internet services through wireless “WIFI” or through copper access lines “BSA” or through copper lines “DSLAM” or fiber optic cables.
On the price of the service in Gaza and its relevance compared to prices in neighboring countries and in the occupied interior, where speeds are high and prices are lower, Eng. Sheikh Deeb states that his ministry periodically studies the prices of internet services in Palestine and compares them with neighboring countries in terms of prices, speed and the quality of the provision of these services.
He believes that “internet speed in Palestine is advanced compared to many neighboring countries and is lower than prices in many of them.”
He added, “It has become clear to us that the problem lies in the difficult economic conditions in Gaza, which are measured by GDP per capita, which is very low compared to neighboring countries and the West Bank as well, which has led to the prices of these services constitute an economic burden on the Gaza citizen. “
As for the “Viber Net” service, Sheikh Deeb indicates that at the beginning of 2022, his ministry gave initial approval to a number of companies to provide home internet services through fiber optic cables.
Sheikh Deeb points out that the entry of “Viber” into the service will lead to a significant development in internet services in terms of quality of services and high speed at the lowest possible prices, and will also keep the market up to date with the needs of community in terms of using the internet in e-learning, remote work, cloud computing and many other uses.
Many internet companies compete in terms of service quality, such as “Street Net”, “Wi-Fi”, copper wires and “Viber Net” in terms of speed and prices. Some of these companies try to get customers with long contracts of up to two years; Before distributing the cheapest and fastest “Viber” lines.
In this regard, Sheikh Deeb explains that the Ministry of Communications obliges all licensed companies, including companies that provide wireless Internet networks “WIFI”, with special instructions and conditions that ensure the provision of these services within a secure environment for subscribers.
Regarding citizens ‘complaints about the poor service provided and companies’ failure to comply with the speed specified in the contract, the Director-General of Licensing says that there is a special unit in the ministry, through which citizens followed up complaints about licensed companies to ensure that they met the conditions and specifications approved by the ministry.
He points out that subscribers can lodge a complaint against licensed companies by visiting the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, or by joining the united website of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Mtit.gov.ps, or by toll-free number (131).
Barriers to service development
With regard to the obstacles hindering the development of internet service in Gaza, it is summed up in the Israeli blockade, according to the ministry official.
Sheikh Deeb attributes this to the occupation’s failure to allow access to devices, equipment and cables for the provision of Internet services, and its refusal to allow the use of third and fourth generation frequencies for cell phones.