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Broadband

Lebanon boosts internet access with link to IMEWE

Wednesday 6 July 2011 | 10:23 CET | News
Lebanon has begun preparations for the launch of a submarine cable to give ISPs more capacity and help lower connectivity prices in the country. A statement from an adviser to telecommunications minister Nicolas Sehnawi confirmed that people could expect "important developments" in the sector thanks to the liberalization of the international cables known as IMEWE and Cadmos. Sehnawi will present a draft bill to the Cabinet in the coming three weeks that would reduce the prices of internet services in the country. The ministry contacted ISPs on 4 July to inform them that the capacity they had requested several months ago from the India-Middle East-Western Europe submarine cable would now be available, Habib Torbey, the head of the Lebanese Telecommunication Association and president of GlobalCom Data Services, which groups all of the country's private ISPs, told The Daily Star. Torbey said IDM, the ISP owned by GDS, had noticed the increase in capacity that afternoon. The 13,000-km IMEWE cable runs between India and France and has a potential capacity of 3.84 Tbps. It has been operational since 2009, but its implementation in Lebanon has been repeatedly delayed. Its intended launch date of 13 December 2010 was postponed by the IMEWE consortium because of a dispute between the Telecoms Ministry, then headed by Charbel Nahhas, and Ogero, the semi-autonomous company responsible for administering telecoms in the country. According to Boustany, access to the IMEWE cable was made possible after the previous minister Nahhas wrote to the consortium to inform them the ministry had sole authority over the country's internet supply. The additional capacity is also expected to support the launch of 3G services by mobile operators Alfa and MTC.


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