Communications in Lebanon

This article concerns the systems of communication in Lebanon. Lebanon possesses a number of systems of telecommunication, some of which are currently being reconstructed following damage during the civil war that ended in 1991. The country code and top-level domain for Lebanon is "LB".

Telephone

There are 750,000 landlines,[1] and 2,916,000 mobile telephones in use in Lebanon. The telephone system experienced severe damage during the civil war, but was completely rebuilt and revamped. The systems that provide the infrastructure for the telephone network are, domestically, microwave radio relay stations and cables, and internationally, two Intelsat satellite-earth stations, a microwave radio relay station to Syria and three international undersea fiber optic cables: I-ME-WE, CADMOS (to Cyprus), and BERYTAR (to Syria).

Free radio and television broadcasting

Lebanon possesses one AM radio broadcast station, and 32 FM radio broadcast stations. As of 2005, there are 28 privately owned FM radio stations. One FM station, which shifts between French, English, and Armenian, and the sole AM radio station, which broadcasts solely in Arabic, are owned by the state-owned Radio Lebanon, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information. Radio Lebanon also relays Radio France International at 13:00 (UTC) daily. Among private broadcasters are Mix FM, PAX Radio, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation(LBCI), National Broadcasting Network, Radio One, and the Voice of Tomorrow.[2] There are 2.85 million radios is Lebanon. Furthermore, Lebanon has two digital cable television companies, Cable Vision and echonet.

There are 28 television broadcast stations in Lebanon, although the application of the Audiovisual law has caused the closure of a number of TV stations. The PAL television standard is used in Lebanon. Except for the state-owned Télé-Liban, most broadcasters run commercials and are privately owned. Some of the most important television networks are the LBC, Murr TV, Al Jadeed, Future TV, Orange TV (OTV), Al-Manar, NBN, Télé Lumière, and TL (controlled by the government). There are 1.18 million television sets in Lebanon.

There are five cable TV companies in Lebanon: Cable Vision [2], City TV, Digiteck and UCL.

Internet services

The development and growth of internet infrastructure has been particularly slow in Lebanon due to Corruption and allegations of a sector Monopoly.[3]

Internet services are administered in Lebanon by the Ministry of Telecommunication. Lebanon provides three types of services: dialup services, wireless Internet service and ADSL. Lebanon ranks 164th on the netindex.com (as of 09/Nov/2011).

A) 56 K dialup:
Dialup services cost around $7 a month but users have to pay for the cost of phone communication.

B) ADSL Services:
ADSL was offered for the first time in April 2007 and there are currently (as of July 2011) 1,284,361 subscribers. The ADSL network has been undergoing large upgrades throughout the country. The addition of the new IMEWE underwater cable during the summer of 2011 has dramatically increased Lebanon's international bandwidth capacity, allowing for increased speeds and larger data caps. The prices for ADSL varies lightly depending on the DSP but typically cost from $16/month (1 Mbit/s) to 114$/month (8 Mbit/s) on limited bandwidth plans.

There are current unlimited plans for ADSL but only on low accounts such as 128 kbit/s for 26$/month and 256 kbit/s for 36$/month. ADSL in Lebanon is still suffering from state-owned OGERO's monopoly over the bandwidth and nation-wide corruption, resulting in the worst services at the highest prices (with over 1000% taxation) and lack of competition between ISPs.

To fix the problem, former Minister of Telecommunications Charbel Nahas signed an 18 month contract with Consolidated Engineering & Trading and French/American Company Alcatel-Lucent to install a Fiber Optics grid. According to Nahhas, by the end of 2011 all the areas of Lebanon will have fast internet ranging from 10-15 Mbit/s download, and 20 Mbit/s and more will be available the year after, allowing Lebanon to finally catch up with the rest of the world. Such plans have not yet fully taken place, as Lebanese citizens have access to a maximum of 8 Mbit/s as of 2012.

C) Wireless Internet:
Wireless Internet services were offered for the first time in 2005 to palliate for the absence of ADSL infrastructure at the time. It's fees across ISPs revolves around $45/month. Wireless internet is portable: users can connect nearly anywhere through a receiver (connected to the client via USB or Ethernet) and it provides download rates between 512 kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s depending on the chosen plan. Coverage weakens in densely built areas or remote locations. Bandwidth is limited between 3GB-20GB (50$/mo) and over 20GB (90$/mo) up to ~150GB/mo over $150 per month, with unlimited bandwidth from midnight till 6AM based on Fair Usage Policy (FUP). Additional Bandwidth can be purchased at about ~10$ per 1GB.

Point-to-Point Leased Line fees include:

  • A one time connection fee based on Bit Rate- calculated per Leased Line- (and depending on the Leased Line Bit Rate).
  • A recurring monthly fee with a fixed component which is based on Bit Rate, and a variable component based on Bit Rate and distance.[4]

fiber to the home service (FTTH): coming soon in 2013

4g connection service : coming soon in 2013 There are 17 licensed ISPs (Internet Services Providers) and 9 licensed DSPs (Data Service Providers) operating in Lebanon.

ISPs:
Broadband Plus, ComNet, Farah Net, Fiberlink Networks (NewCom), IDM, Keblon, Lebanon OnLine, Masco Group, Moscanet (Wise), Onet Plus, Pro Services, Sodetel, Solidere, Terranet, Transmog (Cyberia), Tri Network Consultants, Virtual ISP (VISP).

DSPs:
Cable One, Cedarcom, GlobalCom Data Services, Pesco, Sodetel, Solidere, LCNC S.A.L., TRISAT S.A.R.L., Waves S.A.L.


For more information about the licensed ISPs/DSPs, you can visit TRA website

As of 2009 Lebanon has 950000 internet users or 24% of the population.

As of June 2011 Lebanon has 1,201,820, 29.0% penetration rate [5]

As of Dec 31, 2011 Lebanon has 1,367,220 Internet users, 33.0% penetration rate [6]

Broadband Decree passed

The cabinet of ministers passed a decree on August 23, 2011 to increase the current speeds of Internet connection setting the minimum speed to 1Mbit/s in addition to lowering the prices. The decree was presented by telecommunication minister Nicolas Sahnaoui.

References

Much of the information in this article is adapted from the CIA World Factbook.

External links

  • DMOZ
  • VPN for Lebanon

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