Saturday, May 2, 2015

Egypt set to up internet speed and lower costs: Minister

Campaigners have been demanding lower prices for internet


Internet Revolution page encouraged people to pay the internet bills by coins last year in protest at high prices

The government is set to increase internet speed and reduce prices for consumers in an effort to allow more Egyptians access to the worldwide web, the minister for communication and information technology has said.

Khaled Negm said the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is expected to meet with internet companies on 15 May to discuss plans for new speeds and costs.

The minister said the new plans aim to make internet available for "all levels of society".

Last year, a group of young people launched a campaign to improve the speed and lower the cost of using the internet in Egypt.

"We want quicker internet speed, lower prices for broadband and mobile internet service, and better customer service," Ahmed Abdel-Naby, who launched the campaign on social media, told in March 2014.

Officials had previously said that internet prices are the regulator's responsibility, but the quality of the service should be guaranteed by the service providers. 

There are around 220 internet service providers in Egypt, although most customers use one of four main companies.

Ookla, an international company specialising in broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications, produced a map comparing prices in US dollars of a megabyte per second and broadband internet speeds around the world.

According to the study, the average internet speed in Egypt is 2.22 megabytes per second at a cost of $18.58 per megabyte.

There are 38.75 million internet users in Egypt.