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Lebanon Raises Internet Prices Seven-Fold

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications announced Thursday that internet prices would increase sevenfold, the latest in a series of hikes in the cost of internet data in the crisis-stricken country.

According to a copy of the announcement circulating in Lebanese media, 100 gigabytes of internet data would increase from 90,000 Lebanese lira (~US$1) to 630,000 (US$7.03) monthly.

The price hike comes as Lebanon enters its fourth year of economic crisis, which has seen the national currency lose 98 per cent of its value and three out of four people plunged into poverty.

The private-sector minimum wage in Lebanon is currently 9 million lira, or about US$100.

Accordingly, the price of 100 GB of internet will increase from 1 to 7 per cent of the salary of a worker earning minimum wage.

Lebanon’s telecom sector has been plagued with months of strikes and rolling coverage outages as the employees union of the state telecom operator, Ogero, protested for higher wages.

Ogero had claimed that the previous pricing scheme of internet and cell phone data did not cover the cost of its operation.

The company has to operate its network providers primarily via private generators, which run on diesel fuel, as Lebanon’s state power company provides only a few hours of electricity per day.

Certain areas of the country have had temporary data blackouts when Ogero has been unable to source diesel to run its network provider centres.

According to the latest data, Lebanon’s fixed broadband internet data speed is ranked 168th out of 177 countries, while its mobile data is ranked 80th worldwide for speed.

The Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications did not respond to a request for comment from The New Arab on the announced price increase.

Source : The New Arab